Let's say I want to set x1=1 if (x2=1 AND x3=1 AND x4=1) or (x5=1 and x6=1) or (x7=1) else x1=0

All of the xs are binary variables.

My first thought is I have to add 3 additional variables, let's say y1, y2, y3 and 12 constraints like this


Is there a more efficient way to tackle this?

  • $\begingroup$ See also cs.stackexchange.com/q/102328/755 for a sort of general case of this problem. $\endgroup$ – D.W. Feb 7 '19 at 0:49
  • $\begingroup$ It might help to clarify what you mean by "more efficient". Do you mean "using fewer than 3 auxiliary variables"? If so, figuring out whether it can be done with 2 auxiliary variables might be challenging. You could check whether you can adapt the methods of cs.stackexchange.com/q/73801/755. $\endgroup$ – D.W. Feb 7 '19 at 20:50
  • $\begingroup$ By more efficient I mean a setup which is most likely to arrive at a solution to be the global optima and for it to be solved in the minimum time. $\endgroup$ – Dean MacGregor Feb 8 '19 at 16:32
  • $\begingroup$ Unfortunately, the time it will take to solve an ILP problem is not easy to predict from the constraints/inequalities you use, so I don't think that's likely to be answerable. The only way to find out how long it will take is to try it. If your constraints are correct, by definition they will achieve the global optimum. $\endgroup$ – D.W. Feb 8 '19 at 17:40
  • $\begingroup$ @D.W. I see. I didn't know. $\endgroup$ – Dean MacGregor Feb 8 '19 at 19:36

It can be done with two auxiliary variables, y1,y2:

x1 >= y1
x1 >= y2
x1 <= y1 + y2

x2 + x3 + x4 >= 3*(y2 - y1)
x2 + x3 + x4 <= 2 + y1 + y2

x5 + x6 >= 2*(y1 - y2)
x5 + x6 <= 1 + y1 + y2

x7 >= y1 + y2 - 1
x7 <= y1 + y2

The idea here is that if (y1,y2) = (0,1), then the first and-clause is forced to be true; if (y1,y2) = (1,0), then the second and-clause is forced to be true; if (y1,y2) = (1,1), then the third and-clause is forced to be true; and if (y1,y2) = 0, then all three and-clauses are forced to be false.

In other words, (y1,y2) represents the index (in binary) of which of the three and-clauses is true; or (0,0) if none of them are true.

I would be surprised if it is possible to encode your constraint using only a single auxiliary variable.

This trick can be generalized: if you have an OR of $2^k-1$ AND-clauses, then you can find an encoding that uses $k$ auxiliary variables.

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