A Simple Effective Heuristic for Embedded Mixed-Integer Quadratic Programming

R. Takapoui, N. Moehle, S. Boyd, and A. Bemporad

International Journal of Control, 2017. Shorter version appeared in Proceedings American Control Conference, pages 5620–5625, 2016.

In this paper we propose a fast optimization algorithm for approximately minimizing convex quadratic functions over the intersection of affine and separable constraints (i.e., the Cartesian product of possibly nonconvex real sets). This problem class contains many NP-hard problems such as mixed-integer quadratic programming. Our heuristic is based on a variation of the alternating direction method of multipliers (ADMM), an algorithm for solving convex optimization problems. We discuss the favorable computational aspects of our algorithm, which allow it to run quickly even on very modest computational platforms such as embedded processors. We give several examples for which an approximate solution should be found very quickly, such as management of a hybrid-electric vehicle drivetrain and control of switched-mode power converters. Our numerical experiments suggest that our method is very effective in finding a feasible point with small objective value; indeed, we find that in many cases, it finds the global solution.