A constraint sampling approach for multi-stage robust optimization

We propose a tractable approximation scheme for convex (not necessarily linear) multi-stage robust optimization problems. We approximate the adaptive decisions by finite linear combinations of prescribed basis functions and demonstrate how one can optimize over these decision rules at low computational cost through constraint randomization. We obtain a-priori probabilistic guarantees on the feasibility properties of the optimal decision rule by extending existing constraint sampling techniques from the single- to the multi-stage case. We demonstrate that for a suitable choice of basis functions, the approximation converges as the size of the basis and the number of sampled constraints tend to infinity. The approach yields an algorithm parameterized in the basis size, the probability of constraint violation and the confidence that this probability will not be exceeded. These three parameters serve to tune the trade-off between optimality and feasibility of the decision rules and the computational cost of the algorithm. We assess the convergence and scalability properties of our approach in the context of two inventory management problems.


Working paper, Department of Computing, Imperial College London, November 2010



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