Troubleshooting CPLEX Conflict Refiner’s Time Limit Issue

What will you learn?

In this tutorial, you will learn how to effectively address the issue where the CPLEX Conflict Refiner seems to disregard the specified time limit. By understanding and implementing strategies to ensure your time constraints are honored, you can enhance your optimization processes.

Introduction to the Problem and Solution

When utilizing IBM’s CPLEX Optimizer and encountering the conflict refiner feature, it can be frustrating to find that setting a time limit does not yield the expected results. This situation can impede progress in tasks related to operations research or optimization.

To overcome this challenge, we delve into comprehending how CPLEX manages parameters associated with conflict refinement. By identifying workarounds and adjusting settings, we ensure that the time limit is respected as intended. Our guide offers practical steps supported by insights into CPLEX’s operational mechanisms.


from cplex import Cplex

def set_conflict_refiner_time_limit(cpx, time_limit):
    Sets the time limit for the conflict refiner in a Cplex instance.

        cpx (Cplex): The Cplex instance.
        time_limit (float): Desired time limit in seconds.
    # Set parameter for conflict refiner's time limit
    cpx.parameters.conflict.display.set(2)  # For verbose output

# Example usage:
cpx = Cplex()
set_conflict_refiner_time_limit(cpx, 60)  # Set a 60-second time limit

# Copyright PHD


The solution revolves around correctly configuring parameters within your Cplex instance to enforce a timeout on the conflict refiner process. Parameters play a vital role in controlling various aspects of algorithmic operations within CPLEX:

Parameter Description
.parameters.conflict.display.set(2) Increases verbosity level of outputs during conflict refinement for better debugging.
.parameters.timelimit.set(time_limit) Directly sets the solver�s overall time limit, influencing various solving processes.

Understanding these nuances is crucial as certain internal phases may not strictly adhere to user-defined limits due to their nature or current implementation within CPLEX.

    1. How does setting .parameters.timelimit differ from specific methods’ limits?

      • Setting .parameters.timelimit establishes an overarching constraint on solver runtime compared to method-specific constraints for particular processes.
    2. Is it possible for pre/post-processing phases to ignore my set timelimits?

      • Yes, pre-processing or post-processing operations may not fully respect user-defined timelimits due to their design objectives.
    3. Can verbosity levels affect performance?

      • Increasing verbosity levels impacts logging detail but has minimal performance impact unless stringent performance requirements exist.
    4. What happens if my problem doesn’t converge within given timelimit?

      • CPLEX halts processing when it reaches defined timelimits, providing partial solutions or indicating incomplete search/optimization.
    5. Are there any recommendations for handling large-scale problems regarding timelimits?

      • Incremental adjustments alongside tuning relevant parameters could help balance runtimes and achieve desired outcomes effectively.

Mastering how to enforce time limits on the conflict refiner in IBM’s CPLEX Optimizer is essential for optimizing operations research tasks efficiently. By understanding parameter configurations and nuances within CPLEX’s functionality, you can ensure that your specified constraints are honored, leading to improved productivity and streamlined optimization processes.

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