The trust-region subproblem minimizes a general quadratic function over an ellipsoid and can be solved in polynomial time using a semidefinite-programming (SDP) relaxation. Intersecting the feasible set with a second ellipsoid results in the two-trust-region subproblem (TTRS). Even though TTRS can also be solved in polynomial-time, existing algorithms do not use SDP. In this paper, we investigate the use of SDP for TTRS. Starting from the basic SDP relaxation of TTRS, which admits a gap, recent research has tightened the basic relaxation using valid second-order-cone inequalities. Even still, closing the gap requires more. For the special case of TTRS in dimension $n=2$, we fully characterize the remaining valid inequalities, which can be viewed as strengthened versions of the second-order-cone inequalities just mentioned. We also demonstrate that these valid inequalities can be used computationally even when $n > 2$ to solve TTRS instances that were previously unsolved using SDP-based techniques.
University of Iowa, Iowa City, IA 52242, USA. November 2013