A branch-and-bound algorithm for team formation on social networks
INFORMS Journal on Computing
Institute for Operations Research and the Management Sciences (INFORMS)
1162 - 1176
Item Usage Stats
The team formation problem (TFP) aims to construct a capable team that can communicate and collaborate effectively. The cost of communication is quantified using the proximity of the potential members in a social network. We study a TFP with two measures for communication effectiveness; namely, we minimize the sum of communication costs, and we impose an upper bound on the largest communication cost. This problem can be formulated as a constrained quadratic set covering problem. Our experiments show that a general purpose solver is capable of solving small and medium-sized instances to optimality. We propose a branch-and-bound algorithm to solve larger sizes: we reformulate the problem and relax it in such a way that it decomposes into a series of linear set covering problems, and we impose the relaxed constraints through branching. Our computational experiments show that the algorithm is capable of solving large-size instances, which are intractable for the solver. Summary of Contribution: This paper presents an exact algorithm for the Team Formation Problem (TFP), in which the aim is, given a project and its required skills, to construct a capable team that can communicate and collaborate effectively. This combinatorial opti mization problem is modeled as a quadratic set covering problem. The study provides a novel branch-and-bound algorithm where a reformulation of the problem is relaxed so that it decomposes into a series of linear set covering problems and the relaxed constraints are imposed through branching. The algorithm is able to solve instances that are intractable for commercial solvers. The study illustrates an efficient usage of algorithmic methods and modelling techniques for an operations research problem. It contributes to the field of computational optimization by proposing a new application as well as a new algorithm to solve a quadratic version of a classical combinatorial optimization problem.