A.K. Yadav, R. Ranjan, U. Mahbub, and M.C. Rotkowitz
New Methods for Handling Binary Constraints
Proceedings of the 54th Annual Allerton Conference on Communication, Control, and Computing,
pp. 1074-1080, September 2016.


We consider the problem of handling binary constraints in optimization problems. We review methods for solving binary quadratic programs (BQPs), such as the spectral method and semidefinite programming relaxations. We then discuss two new methods for handling these constraints. The first involves the introduction of an extra unconstrained variable along with the alternating direction method of multipliers (ADMM), which has now also appeared in other recent literature. This allows the effect of the binary variables to be decoupled when they are minimized over. The second involves rewarding the one-norm while restricting the infinity-norm, based on a reformulation of the original problem. The piecewise linearity of the negative penalty results in the problem being convex until it hits a critical point, at which point the parameters of this linear term can be changed. These two methods can be applied to any problems which are convex except for binary constraints. In addition to testing them on BQPs, we show the efficacy of these approaches on point segmentation and image segmentation problems.