Hierarchical Branch and Bound Algorithm for Computational Grids

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Branch and Bound (B&B) algorithms are efficiently used for exact resolution of combinatorial optimization problems (COPs). They are easy to parallelize using the Master/Worker paradigm (MW) but limited in scalability when solving large instances of COPs on large scale environments such as Grids. Indeed, the master process rapidly becomes a bottleneck. In this paper, we propose a new approach H-B&B for parallel B&B based on a hierarchical MW paradigm in order to deal with the scalability issue of the traditional MW-based B&B. The hierarchy is built dynamically and evolves over time according to the dynamic acquisition of computing nodes. The inner nodes of the hierarchy (masters) perform branching operations to generate sub-trees and the leaves (workers) perform a complete exploration of these sub-trees. Therefore, in addition to the parallel exploration of sub-trees, a parallel branching is adopted. H-B&B is applied to the Flow-Shop scheduling problem.Unlike most existing grid-based B&B algorithms, H-B&B has been experimented on a real computational grid i.e. Grid’5000. The results demonstrate the scalability and efficiency of H-B&B.
Parallel Branch and Bound; Master/Worker; Hierarchical Master/Worker; Grid Computing; Large scale Ex- periments;