On tackling reverse convex constraints for non-overlapping of unequal circles

We study the unequal circle-circle non-overlapping constraints, a form of reverse convex constraints that often arise in optimization models for cutting and packing applications. The feasible region induced by the intersection of circle-circle non-overlapping constraints is highly non-convex, and standard approaches to construct convex relaxations for spatial branch-and-bound global optimization of such models typically yield unsatisfactory loose relaxations. Consequently, solving such non-convex models to guaranteed optimality remains extremely challenging even for the state-of-the-art codes. In this paper, we apply a purpose-built branching scheme on non-overlapping constraints and utilize strengthened intersection cuts and various feasibility-based tightening techniques to further tighten the model relaxation. We embed these techniques into a branch-and-bound code and test them on two variants of circle packing problems. Our computational studies on a suite of 75 benchmark instances yielded, for the first time in the open literature, a total of 54 provably optimal solutions, and it was demonstrated to be competitive over the use of the state-of-the-art general-purpose global optimization solvers.


Wang, A., Gounaris, C.E. On tackling reverse convex constraints for non-overlapping of unequal circles. J Glob Optim 80, 357–385 (2021). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10898-020-00976-y