BEAMR

BEAMR: an exact and approximate model for the p-median problem. The p-median problem is perhaps one of the most well-known location-allocation models in the location science literature. It was originally defined by Hakimi in 1964 and 1965 and involves the location of p facilities on a network in such a manner that the total weighted distance of serving all demand is minimized. This problem has since been the subject of considerable research involving the development of specialized solution approaches as well as the development of many different types of extended model formats. One element of past research that has remained almost constant is the original ReVelle-Swain formulation [C. S. ReVelle and R. Swain [Central facilities location. Geographical Anal. 2, 30–42 (1970)]. With few exceptions as detailed in the paper, virtually no new formulations have been proposed for general use in solving the classic p-median problem. This paper proposes a new model formulation for the p-median problem that contains both exact and approximate features. This new p-median formulation is called Both Exact and Approximate Model Representation (BEAMR). We show that BEAMR can result in a substantially smaller integer-linear formulation for a given application of the p-median problem and can be used to solve for either an exact optimum or a bounded, close to optimal solution. We also present a methodological framework in which the BEAMR model can be used. Computational results for problems found in the OR_library of J. E. Beasley [Eur. J. Oper. Res. 21, 270–273 (1985; Zbl 0569.90021)] indicate that BEAMR not only extends the application frontier for the p-median problem using general-purpose software, but for many problems represents an efficient, competitive solution approach.