Part of Advances in Neural Information Processing Systems 35 (NeurIPS 2022) Main Conference Track
Abdel Ghani Labassi, Didier Chetelat, Andrea Lodi
Branch-and-bound approaches in integer programming require ordering portions of the space to explore next, a problem known as node comparison. We propose a new siamese graph neural network model to tackle this problem, where the nodes are represented as bipartite graphs with attributes. Similar to prior work, we train our model to imitate a diving oracle that plunges towards the optimal solution. We evaluate our method by solving the instances in a plain framework where the nodes are explored according to their rank. On three NP-hard benchmarks chosen to be particularly primal-difficult, our approach leads to faster solving and smaller branch- and-bound trees than the default ranking function of the open-source solver SCIP, as well as competing machine learning methods. Moreover, these results generalize to instances larger than used for training. Code for reproducing the experiments can be found at https://github.com/ds4dm/learn2comparenodes.