R API Overview
The Gurobi R interface allows you to build an optimization model, pass the model to Gurobi, and obtain the optimization result, all from within the R environment. For those of you who are not familiar with R, it is a free language for statistical computing. Please visit the R Project web site for more information.
The Gurobi R interface can be used to solve optimization problems of
the following form:
|subject to||(linear constraints)|
|some integral||(integrality constraints)|
|some lie within second order cones||(cone constraints)|
Many of the model components listed here are optional. For example, integrality constraints or second order cone constraints may be omitted. We'll discuss the details of how models are represented shortly.
A quick note for new users: the convention in math programming is that variables are non-negative unless specified otherwise. You'll need to explicitly set lower bounds if you want variables to be able to take negative values.
The Gurobi R API
The Gurobi R interface is quite concise. It consists of a single R function that takes a pair of arguments:
|gurobi||( model, params=NULL )|
The two arguments are R
list variables, each consisting of
multiple named components. The first argument contains the
optimization model to be solved. The second contains an optional list
of Gurobi parameters to be modified during the solution process. The
return value of this function is a list, also consisting of multiple
named components. It contains the result of performing the
optimization on the specified model. We'll now discuss the details of
each of these lists.
The optimization model
As we've mentioned, the
model argument to the
function is a
list variable, containing multiple
named components that represent the various parts
of the optimization
model. Several of these components are optional.
Note that you refer to a
named component of an R list variable by appending a dollar sign
followed by the component name to the list variable name. For
model$A refers to component
A of list
The following is an enumeration of all of the named components of the
model argument that Gurobi will take into account when
optimizing the model:
- The linear constraint matrix. This can be dense or sparse.
Sparse matrices should be built using either
- The linear objective vector (the
cvector in the problem statement above). You must specify one value for each column of
- The senses of the linear constraints. Allowed values are
'>='. You must specify one value for each row of
- The right-hand side vector for the linear constraints (the
vector in the problem statement above). You must specify
one value for each row of
- lb (optional)
- The lower bound vector. When present, you must
specify one value for each column of
A. When absent, each variable has a lower bound of 0.
- ub (optional)
- The upper bound vector. When present, you must
specify one value for each column of
A. When absent, the variables have infinite upper bounds.
- vtype (optional)
- The variable type vector. This vector is used
to capture variable integrality constraints. Allowed values are
'N'(semi-integer). Binary variables must be either 0 or 1. Integer variables can take any integer value between the specified lower and upper bounds. Semi-continuous variables can take any value between the specified lower and upper bounds, or a value of zero. Semi-integer variables can take any integer value between the specified lower and upper bounds, or a value of zero. When present, you must specify one value for each column of
A. When absent, each variable is treated as being continuous.
- modelsense (optional)
- The optimization sense. Allowed values
are 'min' (minimize) or 'max' (maximize). When absent, the default
optimization sense is minimization.
- modelname (optional)
- The name of the model. The name appears
in the Gurobi log, and when writing a model to a file.
- objcon (optional)
- The constant offset in the objective function
in the problem statement above).
- start (optional)
- The MIP start vector. The MIP solver will
attempt to build an initial solution from this vector. When
present, you must specify a start value for each variable. Note
that you can set the start value for a variable to
NA, which instructs the MIP solver to try to fill in a value for that variable.
- vbasis (optional)
- The variable basis status vector. Used to
provide an advanced starting point for the simplex algorithm. You
would generally never concern yourself with the contents of this
array, but would instead simply pass it from the result of a
previous optimization run to the input of a subsequent run. When
present, you must specify one value for each column of
- cbasis (optional)
- The constraint basis status vector. Used to
provide an advanced starting point for the simplex algorithm.
vbasisdescription for details. When present, you must specify one value for each row of
- Q (optional)
- The quadratic objective matrix. When present,
Qmust be a square matrix whose row and column counts are equal to the number of columns in
- cones (optional)
- Second-order cone constraints. A list of lists. Each member list defines a single cone constraint: . The first integer in the list gives the column index for variable , and the remainder give the column indices for the variables.
gurobi()function will return an error.
Below is an example that demonstrates the construction of a simple optimization model:
model <- list() model$A <- matrix(c(1,1,0,0,1,1), nrow=2, byrow=T) model$obj <- c(1,1,2) model$modelsense <- "max" model$rhs <- c(1,1) model$sense <- c('<=', '<=')
You can also build
A as a sparse matrix,
model$A <- spMatrix(2, 3, c(1, 1, 2, 2), c(1, 2, 2, 3), c(1, 1, 1, 1)) model$A <- simple_triplet_matrix(c(1, 1, 2, 2), c(1, 2, 2, 3), c(1, 1, 1, 1))
Note that the Gurobi interface allows you to specify a scalar value
for any of the array-valued components. The specified value will be
expanded to an array of the appropriate size, with each component of
the array equal to the scalar (e.g.,
model$rhs <- 1 would be
model$rhs <- c(1,1) in the example).
The parameter list
params argument to the
is also a list of named components. For each component, the name
should be the name of a Gurobi parameter, and the associated value
should be the desired value of that parameter. Gurobi parameters
allow users to modify the default behavior of the Gurobi optimization
algorithms. You can find a complete list of the available Gurobi
params <- list(Method=2, ResultFile='model.mps')
We should say a bit more about the
ResultFile parameter. If this parameter is set, the optimization
model that is eventually passed to Gurobi will also be output to the
specified file. The filename suffix should be one of
to indicate the desired file format (see the
section for details on Gurobi file formats).
The optimization result
gurobi() function returns a list, with the various results
of the optimization stored in its named components. The specific
results that are available depend on the type of model that was
solved, and the status of the optimization.
The following is a list of components that might be available
in the result list. We'll discuss the circumstances under which
each will be available after presenting the list.
- The status of the optimization, returned as a string.
The desired result is
"OPTIMAL", which indicates that an optimal solution to the model was found. Other status are possible, for example if the model has no feasible solution or if you set a Gurobi parameter that leads to early solver termination. See the Status Code section for further information on the Gurobi status codes.
- The objective value of the computed solution.
- The computed solution. This array contains one entry for
each column of
- Constraint slacks for the computed solution. This array
contains one entry for each row of
- Dual values for the computed solution (also known as shadow prices). This array contains one entry for each row of
- Variable reduced costs for the computed solution. This
array contains one entry for each column of
- Variable basis status values for the computed optimal
basis. You generally should not concern yourself with the contents
of this array. If you wish to use an advanced start later, you
would simply copy the
cbasisarrays into the corresponding components for the next model. This array contains one entry for each column of
- Constraint basis status values for the computed optimal
basis. This array contains one entry for each row of
statuscomponent will be present in all cases. It indicates whether Gurobi was able to find a proven optimal solution to the model. In cases where a solution to the model was found, optimal or otherwise, the
slackcomponents will be present. For linear and quadratic programs, if a solution is available, then the
rccomponents will also be present. Finally, if the final solution is a basic solution (computed by simplex), then
cbasiswill be present.
The following is an example of how the results of the
call might be extracted and output:
result <- gurobi(model, params) print(result$objval) print(result$x)
Installing the R package
To use our R interface, you'll need to install the Gurobi package in R. The R command for doing this is:
install.packages('<R-package-file>', repos=NULL)The Gurobi R package file can be found in the
<installdir>/Rdirectory of your Gurobi installation (the default
<installdir>for Gurobi 6.0.0 is
c:\gurobi600for Windows, and
/Library/gurobi600for Mac). You should browse the
<installdir>/Rdirectory to find the exact name of the file for your platform (the Linux package is in file
gurobi_6.0-0_R_x86_64-pc-linux-gnu.tar.gz, the Windows package is in file
gurobi_6.0-0.zip, and the Mac package is in file
You will need to be careful to make sure that the R binary and the Gurobi package you install both use the same instruction set. For example, if you are using the 64-bit version of R, you'll need to install the 64-bit version of Gurobi, and the 64-bit Gurobi R package. This is particularly important on Windows systems, where the error messages that result from instruction set mismatches can be quite cryptic.
To run one of the R examples provided with the Gurobi distribution,
you can use the
source command in R. For example, if you
are running R from the Gurobi R examples directory, you can say:
If the Gurobi package was successfully installed, you should see the following output:
 "Solution:"  3  1 0 1