Instance scale, numerical properties and design of metaheuristics: a study for the facility location problem

David Chalupa, Peter Nielsen

Research output: Working paperResearch

Abstract

Metaheuristics are known to be strong in solving large-scale instances of computationally hard problems. However, their efficiency still needs exploration in the context of instance structure, scale and numerical properties for many of these problems. In this paper, we present an in-depth computational study of two local search metaheuristics for the classical uncapacitated facility location problem. We investigate four problem instance models, studied for the same problem size, for which the two metaheuristics exhibit intriguing and contrasting behaviours. The metaheuristics explored include a local search (LS) algorithm that chooses the best moves in the current neighbourhood, while a randomised local search (RLS) algorithm chooses the first move that does not lead to a worsening. The experimental results indicate that the right choice between these two algorithms depends heavily on the distribution of coefficients within the problem instance. This is also put further into context by finding optimal or near-optimal solutions using a mixed-integer linear programming problem solver. Since the facility location problem is a relatively simple example of a choice-and-assignment problem, similar phenomena are likely to be discovered in a number of other, possibly more complex computational problems in science and engineering.
Original languageEnglish
PublisherarXiv.org
Number of pages28
Publication statusPublished - 2018

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