Doctor Concepción Domínguez Sánchez

The 1st of October, 2021, Concepción Domínguez Sánchez succesfully defended her thesis titled
The Rank Pricing Problem : A mixed-integer linear optimization approach.

The jury was composed by:

  • Thomas Stützle, Université Libre de Bruxelles
  • Bernard Fortz, Université Libre de Bruxelles
  • Alfredo Marin, Universidad de Murcia
  • Jorge Navarro Camacho, Universidad de Murcia
  • Sourour Elloumi, ENSTA ParisTech
  • Claudio Arbib, Università degli Studi dell’Aquila

Thesis abstract: This doctorate is entirely devoted to an in-depth study of the Rank Pricing Problem (RPP) and two generalizations. The RPP is a combinatorial optimization problem which aims at setting the prices of a series of products of a company to maximize its revenue. This problem is specified by a set of unit-demand customers, that is, customers interested in a subset of the products offered by the company which intend to buy at most one of them. To do so, they count on a fixed budget, and they rank the products of their interest from the “best” to the “worst”. Once the prices are established by the company, they will purchase their highest-ranked product among the ones they can afford. In the RPP, it is assumed an unlimited supply of products, which is consistent with a company having enough copies of a product to satisfy the demand, or with a setting where the products can be produced quickly at negligible cost (e.g., digital goods). This dissertation consists of four chapters. The first chapter introduces the RPP problem and the mathematical concepts present in the work, whereas each of the next three chapters tackles the resolution of each of the problems of study: the RPP and two generalizations. Thus, Chapter 3 is dedicated to the Rank Pricing Problem with Ties (RPPT), an extension of the RPP where we consider that customers can express indifference among products in their preference list. And the last chapter of the thesis is devoted to a generalization of the problem that we have named the Capacitated Rank Pricing Problem (CRPP) with envy. For this generalization, we have considered reservation prices of customers for the different products that reflect their willingness to pay, instead of a single budget per customer. However, the main difference is that, in the CRPP, the company has a limited supply of products and might not be able to satisfy all the customers’ requests. This is a realistic assumption that we can find in many companies.The aim of this thesis is the proposal of mixed-integer linear formulations for the three problems of study, and their theoretical and/or computational comparison. The methodology used is based on the introduction of decision variables and adequate restrictions to model the problems. Another objective consists in strengthening the formulations by means of valid inequalities that reduce the feasible region of the relaxed problem and allow us to obtain better linear relaxation bounds. Finally, a third goal is to derive resolution algorithms for each of these models and compare them computationally, using commercial solvers.

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