Integer and Constraint programming methods for mutually Orthogonal Latin Squares
This thesis examines the Orthogonal Latin Squares (OLS) problem from the viewpoint of Integer and Constraint programming. An Integer Programming (IP) model is proposed and the associated polytope is analysed. We identify several families of strong valid inequalities, namely inequalities arising from cliques, odd holes, antiwebs and wheels of the associated intersection graph. The dimension of the OLS polytope is established and it is proved that certain valid inequalities are facet-inducing. This analysis reveals also a new family of facet-defining inequalities for the polytope associated with the Latin square problem. Separation algorithms of the lowest complexity are presented for particular families of valid inequalities. We illustrate a method for reducing problem's symmetry, which extends previously known results. This allows us to devise an alternative proof for the non-existence of an OLS structure for n = 6, based solely on Linear Programming. Moreover, we present a more general Branch & Cut algorithm for the OLS problem. The algorithm exploits problem structure via integer preprocessing and a specialised branching mechanism. It also incorporates families of strong valid inequalities. Computational analysis is conducted in order to illustrate the significant improvements over simple Branch & Bound. Next, the Constraint Programming (CP) paradigm is examined. Important aspects of designing an efficient CP solver, such as branching strategies and constraint propagation procedures, are evaluated by comprehensive, problem-specific, experiments. The CP algorithms lead to computationally favourable results. In particular, the infeasible case of n = 6, which requires enumerating the entire solution space, is solved in a few seconds. A broader aim of our research is to successfully integrate IP and CP. Hence, we present ideas concerning the unification of IP and CP methods in the form of hybrid algorithms. Two such algorithms are presented and their behaviour is analysed via experimentation. The main finding is that hybrid algorithms are clearly more efficient, as problem size grows, and exhibit a more robust performance than traditional IP and CP algorithms. A hybrid algorithm is also designed for the problem of finding triples of Mutually Orthogonal Latin Squares (MOLS). Given that the OLS problem is a special form of an assignment problem, the last part of the thesis considers multidimensional assignment problems. It introduces a model encompassing all assignment structures, including the case of MOLS. A necessary condition for the existence of an assignment structure is revealed. Relations among assignment problems are also examined, leading to a proposed hierarchy. Further, the polyhedral analysis presented unifies and generalises previous results.