Two-stage column generation and applications

Column generation has been intensively used in the last decades to compute good quality lower bounds for combinatorial problems reformulated through Dantzig-Wolfe decomposition. In this paper we propose a novel framework to cope with problems in which the structure of the original formulation, namely the presence of a combinatorial number of decision variables, does not allow for straightforward reformulation. The basic idea is to start from a meaningful subset of original variables, apply the DW reformulation to the subset, solve the reformulation with column generation and perform the explicit pricing on original variables retracing back the reformulation and using complementary-slackness conditions. The Discrete Split Delivery Vehicle Routing Problem with Time Windows (DSDVRPTW) is used as an illustration for the method, which provides a new exact approach to the problem.


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