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Ph.D de

Group : Graphs, ALgorithms and Combinatorics

Stochastic Combinatorial Optimization

Starts on 24/09/2010
Advisor : LISSER, Abdel

Funding : Bourse pour étudiant étranger
Affiliation : Université Paris-Sud
Laboratory : LRI Graphes

Defended on 08/11/2013, committee :
Prof. Abdel Lisser (Directeur de thèse) Université de Paris Sud, LRI
Prof. Sylvain Conchon (Examinateur) Université de Paris Sud, LRI
Prof. Immanuel Bomze (Examinateur) University of Vienna
Prof. Jean-Philippe Chancelier (Examinateur) École des Ponts Paris Tech
Prof. Rüdiger Schultz (Rapporteur) Universitat Duisburg-Essen
Prof. René Henrion (Rapporteur) Weierstrass Institute for Applied Analysis and Stochastics, Berlin

Research activities :

Abstract :
In this thesis, we studied three types of stochastic problems: chance constrained problems, distributionally robust problems as well as the simple recourse problems. For the stochastic programming problems, there are two main difficulties. One is that feasible sets of stochastic problems is not convex in general. The other main challenge arises from the need to calculate conditional expectation or probability both of which are involving multi-dimensional integrations. Due to the two major difficulties, for all three studied problems, we solved them with approximation approaches.

We first study two types of chance constrained problems: linear program with joint chance constraints problem (LPPC) as well as maximum probability problem (MPP). For both problems, we assume that the random matrix is normally distributed and its vector rows are independent. We first dealt with LPPC which is generally not convex. We approximate it with two second-order cone programming (SOCP) problems. Furthermore under mild conditions, the optimal values of the two SOCP problems are a lower and upper bounds of the original problem respectively. For the second problem, we studied a variant of stochastic resource constrained shortest path problem (called SRCSP for short), which is to maximize probability of resource constraints. To solve the problem, we proposed to use a branch-and-bound framework to come up with the optimal solution. As its corresponding linear relaxation is generally not convex, we give a convex approximation. Finally, numerical tests on the random instances were conducted for both problems. With respect to LPPC, the numerical results showed that the approach we proposed outperforms Bonferroni and Jagannathan approximations. While for the MPP, the numerical results on generated instances substantiated that the convex approximation outperforms the individual approximation method.

Then we study a distributionally robust stochastic quadratic knapsack problems, where we only know part of information about the random variables, such as its first and second moments. We proved that the single knapsack problem (SKP) is a semedefinite problem (SDP) after applying the SDP relaxation scheme to the binary constraints. Despite the fact that it is not the case for the multidimensional knapsack problem (MKP), two good approximations of the relaxed version of the problem are provided which obtain upper and lower bounds that appear numerically close to each other for a range of problem instances. Our numerical experiments also indicated that our proposed lower bounding approximation outperforms the approximations that are based on Bonferroni's inequality and the work by Zymler et al.. Besides, an extensive set of experiments were conducted to illustrate how the conservativeness of the robust solutions does pay off in terms of ensuring the chance constraint is satisfied (or nearly satisfied) under a wide range of distribution fluctuations. Moreover, our approach can be applied to a large number of stochastic optimization problems with binary variables.

Finally, a stochastic version of the shortest path problem is studied. We proved that in some cases the stochastic shortest path problem can be greatly simplified by reformulating it as the classic shortest path problem, which can be solved in polynomial time. To solve the general problem, we proposed to use a branch-and-bound framework to search the set of feasible paths. Lower bounds are obtained by solving the corresponding linear relaxation which in turn is done using a Stochastic Projected Gradient algorithm involving an active set method. Meanwhile, numerical examples were conducted to illustrate the effectiveness of the obtained algorithm. Concerning the resolution of the continuous relaxation, our Stochastic Projected Gradient algorithm clearly outperforms Matlab optimization toolbox on large graphs.

Ph.D. dissertations & Faculty habilitations
The original manuscript conceptualizes the recent rise of digital platforms along three main dimensions: their nature of coordination devices fueled by data, the ensuing transformations of labor, and the accompanying promises of societal innovation. The overall ambition is to unpack the coordination role of the platform and where it stands in the horizon of the classical firm – market duality. It is also to precisely understand how it uses data to do so, where it drives labor, and how it accommodates socially innovative projects. I extend this analysis to show continuity between today’s society dominated by platforms and the “organizational society”, claiming that platforms are organized structures that distribute resources, produce asymmetries of wealth and power, and push social innovation to the periphery of the system. I discuss the policy implications of these tendencies and propose avenues for follow-up research.