Sample Complexity of Tree Search Configuration: Cutting Planes and Beyond

Maria-Florina Balcan, Siddharth Prasad, Tuomas Sandholm, Ellen Vitercik

Cutting-plane methods have enabled remarkable successes in integer programming over the last few decades. State-of-the-art solvers integrate a myriad of cutting-plane techniques to speed up the underlying tree-search algorithm used to find optimal solutions. In this paper we prove the first guarantees for learning high-performing cut-selection policies tailored to the instance distribution at hand using samples. We first bound the sample complexity of learning cutting planes from the canonical family of Chv\'atal-Gomory cuts. Our bounds handle any number of waves of any number of cuts and are fine tuned to the magnitudes of the constraint coefficients. Next, we prove sample complexity bounds for more sophisticated cut selection policies that use a combination of scoring rules to choose from a family of cuts. Finally, beyond the realm of cutting planes for integer programming, we develop a general abstraction of tree search that captures key components such as node selection and variable selection. For this abstraction, we bound the sample complexity of learning a good policy for building the search tree.

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