Thesis Defense: Sriram Sankaranarayanan, ““Optimization with mixed-integer, complementarity, and bilevel constraints with applications to energy and food markets”

October 9, 2018

The Department of Civil Engineering


Advisors Sauleh Siddiqui, Asst. Professor
and Amitabh Basu, Assoc. Professor

Announce the Thesis Defense of
Doctoral Candidate

Sriram Sankaranarayanan

Monday, October 15, 2018


Latrobe 106

“Optimization with mixed-integer, complementarity, and bilevel constraints with applications to energy and food markets”

In this dissertation, we discuss three classes of nonconvex optimization problems, namely, mixed-integer programming, nonlinear complementarity problems, and mixed-integer bilevel programming.

For mixed-integer programming, we identify a class of cutting planes, namely the class of cutting planes derived from lattice-free cross-polytopes, which are proven to provide good approximations to the problem while being efficient to compute. We show that the closure of these cuts gives an approximation that depends only on the ambient dimension and that the cuts can be computed efficiently by explicitly providing an algorithm to compute the cut coefficients in $O(n2^n)$ time, as opposed to solving a nearest lattice-vector problem, which could be much harder.

For complementarity problems, we develop a first-order approximation algorithm to efficiently approximate the covariance of the decision in a stochastic complementarity problem. The method can be used to approximate the covariance for large-scale problems by solving a system of linear equations. We also provide bounds to the error incurred in this technique. We then use the technique to analyze policies related to the North American natural gas market.

Further, we use this branch of nonconvex problems in the Ethiopian food market to analyze the regional effects of exogenous shocks on the market. We develop a detailed model of the food production, transportation, trade, storage, and consumption in Ethiopia, and test it against exogenous shocks. These shocks are motivated by the prediction that teff, a food grain whose export is banned now, could become a super grain. We present the regional effects of different government policies in response to this shock.

For mixed-integer bilevel programming, we develop algorithms that run in polynomial time, provided a subset of the input parameters are fixed. Besides the $\Sigma^p_2$-hardness of the general version of the problem, we show polynomial solvability and NP-completeness of certain restricted versions of this problem.

Finally, we completely characterize the feasible regions represented by each of these different types of nonconvex optimization problems. We show that the representability of linear complementarity problems, continuous bilevel programs, and polyhedral reverse-convex programs are the same, and they coincide with that of mixed-integer programs if the feasible region is bounded. We also show that the feasible region of any mixed-integer bilevel program is a union of the feasible regions of finitely many mixed-integer programs up to projections and closures.

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