SABRINA: A Stochastic Subspace Majorization-Minimization Algorithm

A wide class of problems involves the minimization of a coercive and differentiable function $F$ on $\mathbb{R}^N$ whose gradient cannot be evaluated in an exact manner. In such context, many existing convergence results from standard gradient-based optimization literature cannot be directly applied and robustness to errors in the gradient is not necessarily guaranteed. This work … Read more

A Derivation of Nesterov’s Accelerated Gradient Algorithm from Optimal Control Theory

Nesterov’s accelerated gradient algorithm is derived from first principles. The first principles are founded on the recently-developed optimal control theory for optimization. The necessary conditions for optimal control generate a controllable dynamical system for accelerated optimization. Stabilizing this system via a control Lyapunov function generates an ordinary differential equation. An Euler discretization of the differential … Read more

A decomposition approach for integrated locomotive scheduling and driver rostering in rail freight transport

In this work, we consider the integrated problem of locomotive scheduling and driver rostering in rail freight companies. Our aim is to compute an optimal simultaneous assignment of locomotives and drivers to the trains listed in a given order book. Mathematically, this leads to the combination of a set-packing problem with compatibility constraints and a … Read more

A Different Perspective on the Stochastic Convex Feasibility Problem

We analyze a simple randomized subgradient method for approximating solutions to stochastic systems of convex functional constraints, the only input to the algorithm being the size of minibatches. By introducing a new notion of what is meant for a point to approximately solve the constraints, determining bounds on the expected number of iterations reduces to … Read more

Learning Optimal Prescriptive Trees from Observational Data

We consider the problem of learning an optimal prescriptive tree (i.e., a personalized treatment assignment policy in the form of a binary tree) of moderate depth, from observational data. This problem arises in numerous socially important domains such as public health and personalized medicine, where interpretable and data-driven interventions are sought based on data gathered … Read more

Efficient Joint Object Matching via Linear Programming

Joint object matching, also known as multi-image matching, namely, the problem of finding consistent partial maps among all pairs of objects within a collection, is a crucial task in many areas of computer vision. This problem subsumes bipartite graph matching and graph partitioning as special cases and is NP-hard, in general. We develop scalable linear … Read more

Determining locations and layouts for parcel lockers to support supply chain viability at the last mile

The pandemic caused by the corona virus SARS-CoV-2 raised many new challenges for humanity. For instance, governments imposed regulations such as lockdowns, resulting in supply chain shocks at different tiers. Additionally, delivery services reached their capacity limits because the demand for mail orders soared temporarily during the lockdowns. We argue that one option to support … Read more

Extremal Probability Bounds in Combinatorial Optimization

In this paper, we compute the tightest possible bounds on the probability that the optimal value of a combinatorial optimization problem in maximization form with a random objective exceeds a given number, assuming only knowledge of the marginal distributions of the objective coefficient vector. The bounds are “extremal” since they are valid across all joint … Read more

Subgradient methods near active manifolds: saddle point avoidance, local convergence, and asymptotic normality

Nonsmooth optimization problems arising in practice, whether in signal processing, statistical estimation, or modern machine learning, tend to exhibit beneficial smooth substructure: their domains stratify into “active manifolds” of smooth variation, which common proximal algorithms “identify” in finite time. Identification then entails a transition to smooth dynamics, and permits the use of second-order information for … Read more

The probabilistic travelling salesman problem with crowdsourcing

We study a variant of the Probabilistic Travelling Salesman Problem arising when retailers crowdsource last-mile deliveries to their own customers, who can refuse or accept in exchange for a reward. A planner must identify which deliveries to offer, knowing that all deliveries need fulfilment, either via crowdsourcing or using the retailer’s own vehicle. We formalise … Read more