Accelerating Primal Solution Findings for Mixed Integer Programs Based on Solution Prediction
Mixed Integer Programming (MIP) is one of the most widely used modeling techniques for combinatorial optimization problems. In many applications, a similar MIP model is solved on a regular basis, maintaining remarkable similarities in model structures and solution appearances but differing in formulation coefficients. This offers the opportunity for machine learning methods to explore the correlations between model structures and the resulting solution values. To address this issue, we propose to represent a MIP instance using a tripartite graph, based on which a Graph Convolutional Network (GCN) is constructed to predict solution values for binary variables. The predicted solutions are used to generate a local branching type cut which can be either treated as a global (invalid) inequality in the formulation resulting in a heuristic approach to solve the MIP, or as a root branching rule resulting in an exact approach. Computational evaluations on 8 distinct types of MIP problems show that the proposed framework improves the primal solution finding performance significantly on a state-of-the-art open-source MIP solver.