A Comprehensive Analysis of Polyhedral Lift-and-Project Methods

Yu Hin Au, Levent Tunçel

We consider lift-and-project methods for combinatorial optimization problems and focus mostly on those lift-and-project methods which generate polyhedral relaxations of the convex hull of integer solutions. We introduce many new variants of Sherali--Adams and Bienstock--Zuckerberg operators. These new operators fill the spectrum of polyhedral lift-and-project operators in a way which makes all of them more transparent, easier to relate to each other, and easier to analyze. We provide new techniques to analyze the worst-case performances as well as relative strengths of these operators in a unified way. In particular, using the new techniques and a result of Mathieu and Sinclair from 2009, we prove that the polyhedral Bienstock--Zuckerberg operator requires at least $\sqrt{2n}- \frac{3}{2}$ iterations to compute the matching polytope of the $(2n+1)$-clique. We further prove that the operator requires approximately $\frac{n}{2}$ iterations to reach the stable set polytope of the $n$-clique, if we start with the fractional stable set polytope. Lastly, we show that some of the worst-case instances for the positive semidefinite Lov\'asz--Schrijver lift-and-project operator are also bad instances for the strongest variants of the Sherali--Adams operator with positive semidefinite strengthenings, and discuss some consequences for integrality gaps of convex relaxations.

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