Journal of Advances in Management Sciences & Information Systems

A Unified Framework for Integer Programming Formulation of Graph Matching Problems

Bahram Alidaee, Haibo Wang and Hugh Sloan


Published: 30 July 2015Open Access

Abstract: Graph theory has been a powerful tool in solving difficult and complex problems arising in all disciplines. In particular, graph matching is a classical problem in pattern analysis with enormous applications. Many graph problems have been formulated as a mathematical program then solved using exact, heuristic and/or approximated-guaranteed procedures. On the other hand, graph theory has been a powerful tool in visualizing and understanding of complex mathematical programming problems, especially integer programs. Formulating a graph problem as a natural integer program (IP) is often a challenging task. However, an IP formulation of the problem has many advantages. Several researchers have noted the need for natural IP formulation of graph theoretic problems. The aim of the present study is to provide a unified framework for IP formulation of graph matching problems. Although there are many surveys on graph matching problems, however, none is concerned with IP formulation. This paper is the first to provide a comprehensive IP formulation for such problems. The framework includes variety of graph optimization problems in the literature. While these problems have been studied by different research communities, however, the framework presented here helps to bring efforts from different disciplines to tackle such diverse and complex problems. We hope the present study can significantly help to simplify some of difficult problems arising in practice, especially in pattern analysis.

Keywords: Combinatorial optimization, graph matching, integer programming, quadratic assignment problem.

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