Fast Method for Maximum-Flow Problem with Minimum-Lot Sizes
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In transportation networks, such as pipeline networks for transporting natural gas, it is often impractical to send across amounts of flow below a certain threshold. Such lower threshold is referred as the minimum-lot size. The network flow is semi-continuous when a network has minimum-lot sizes. In other terms, the flow can be either zero or within the limits of minimum-lot and maximum capacity of the network. When a network includes minimum-lot constraints, the problem of finding maximum-flow becomes complex and exact methods tend to be too time consuming. Since it is not generally required that the solution methods provide the optimal solution, this master thesis proposes a fast (inexact) method to find near-optimum solution.Also, the proposed fast method is experimentally validated and compared with the other relevant approaches available in the literature, and the results are analyzed in detail.