Implementing and bounding a cascade heuristic for large-scale optimization
Guthrie, Katherine H.
Dell, Robert F.
Brown, Gerald G.
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A cascade heuristic appeals when we are faced with a monolithic optimization model exhibiting more decision variables and/or constraints than can be accommodated by computers and/or optimization software available. This thesis studies the implementation and bounding of a cascade heuristic by using the integer linear program implementations of two applications, a production model (PM) and the USMC Hornet Assignment Sundown Model (HASMa). While the solutions for PM are within 5% of the optimal solution for a wide variety of cascade heuristic implementations, the solutions for HASMa deviate, in some cases, by over 99% of the optimal solution. To provide a metric for the quality of a cascade heuristic solution, we produce a lower bound for the optimal objective function value by aggregating segments of each model's periods. For PM, the aggregated models produce lower bounds all within 2% of the optimal objective function value. For HASMa, the lower bounds can be up to 50% from the optimal objective function value but are within 10% of optimal when the aggregation includes just one-third of the periods. In both cases, finding a lower bound for the optimal objective function value provides significant insight to the quality of the cascade heuristic solution.
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