Distributionally Robust Optimization with Decision-Dependent Information Discovery

We study two-stage distributionally robust optimization (DRO) problems with decision-dependent information discovery (DDID) wherein (a portion of) the uncertain parameters are revealed only if an (often costly) investment is made in the first stage. This class of problems finds many important applications in selection problems (e.g., in hiring, project portfolio optimization, or optimal sensor location). Despite the problem's wide applicability, it has not been previously studied. We propose a framework for modeling and approximately solving DRO problems with DDID. We formulate the problem as a min-max-min-max problem and adopt the popular K-adaptability approximation scheme, which chooses K candidate recourse actions here-and-now and implements the best of those actions after the uncertain parameters that were chosen to be observed are revealed. We then present a decomposition algorithm that solves the K-adaptable formulation exactly. In particular, we devise a cutting plane algorithm which iteratively solves a relaxed version of the problem, evaluates the true objective value of the corresponding solution, generates valid cuts, and imposes them in the relaxed problem. For the evaluation problem, we develop a branch-and-cut algorithm that provably converges to an optimal solution. We showcase the effectiveness of our framework on the R&D project portfolio optimization problem and the best box problem.



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