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On the tractability of the piecewise-linear approximation for general discrete-choice network revenue management
Kunnumkal, Sumit; Talluri, Kalyan
Universitat Pompeu Fabra. Departament d'Economia i Empresa
The choice network revenue management (RM) model incorporates customer purchase behavioras customers purchasing products with certain probabilities that are a function of the offeredassortment of products, and is the appropriate model for airline and hotel network revenuemanagement, dynamic sales of bundles, and dynamic assortment optimization. The underlyingstochastic dynamic program is intractable and even its certainty-equivalence approximation, inthe form of a linear program called Choice Deterministic Linear Program (CDLP) is difficultto solve in most cases. The separation problem for CDLP is NP-complete for MNL with justtwo segments when their consideration sets overlap; the affine approximation of the dynamicprogram is NP-complete for even a single-segment MNL. This is in contrast to the independentclass(perfect-segmentation) case where even the piecewise-linear approximation has been shownto be tractable. In this paper we investigate the piecewise-linear approximation for network RMunder a general discrete-choice model of demand. We show that the gap between the CDLP andthe piecewise-linear bounds is within a factor of at most 2. We then show that the piecewiselinearapproximation is polynomially-time solvable for a fixed consideration set size, bringing itinto the realm of tractability for small consideration sets; small consideration sets are a reasonablemodeling tradeoff in many practical applications. Our solution relies on showing that forany discrete-choice model the separation problem for the linear program of the piecewise-linearapproximation can be solved exactly by a Lagrangian relaxation. We give modeling extensionsand show by numerical experiments the improvements from using piecewise-linear approximationfunctions.
Operations Management
optimization techniques; programming models; dynamic analysis; air transportation ; sports; gambling; recreation; tourism; production management
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