Beyond the Birkhoff Polytope: Convex Relaxations for Vector Permutation Problems
Cong Han Lim · Stephen Wright

Thu Dec 11th 02:00 -- 06:00 PM @ Level 2, room 210D #None
The Birkhoff polytope (the convex hull of the set of permutation matrices), which is represented using $\Theta(n^2)$ variables and constraints, is frequently invoked in formulating relaxations of optimization problems over permutations. Using a recent construction of Goemans (2010), we show that when optimizing over the convex hull of the permutation vectors (the permutahedron), we can reduce the number of variables and constraints to $\Theta(n \log n)$ in theory and $\Theta(n \log^2 n)$ in practice. We modify the recent convex formulation of the 2-SUM problem introduced by Fogel et al. (2013) to use this polytope, and demonstrate how we can attain results of similar quality in significantly less computational time for large $n$. To our knowledge, this is the first usage of Goemans' compact formulation of the permutahedron in a convex optimization problem. We also introduce a simpler regularization scheme for this convex formulation of the 2-SUM problem that yields good empirical results.

Author Information

Cong Han Lim (University of Wisconsin - Madison)
Stephen Wright (UW-Madison)

Steve Wright is a Professor of Computer Sciences at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. His research interests lie in computational optimization and its applications to science and engineering. Prior to joining UW-Madison in 2001, Wright was a Senior Computer Scientist (1997-2001) and Computer Scientist (1990-1997) at Argonne National Laboratory, and Professor of Computer Science at the University of Chicago (2000-2001). He is the past Chair of the Mathematical Optimization Society (formerly the Mathematical Programming Society), the leading professional society in optimization, and a member of the Board of the Society for Industrial and Applied Mathematics (SIAM). Wright is the author or co-author of four widely used books in numerical optimization, including "Primal Dual Interior-Point Methods" (SIAM, 1997) and "Numerical Optimization" (with J. Nocedal, Second Edition, Springer, 2006). He has also authored over 85 refereed journal papers on optimization theory, algorithms, software, and applications. He is coauthor of widely used interior-point software for linear and quadratic optimization. His recent research includes algorithms, applications, and theory for sparse optimization (including applications in compressed sensing and machine learning).

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