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In this paper, we discuss the problem of approximating ellipsoid uncertainty sets with bounded (gamma) uncertainty sets. Robust linear programs with ellipsoid uncertainty lead to quadratically constrained programs, whereas robust linear programs with bounded uncertainty sets remain linear programs which are generally easier to solve.
We call a bounded uncertainty set an inner approximation of an ellipsoid if it is contained in it. We consider two different inner approximation problems. The first problem is to find a bounded uncertainty set which sticks close to the ellipsoid such that a shrank version of the ellipsoid is contained in it. The approximation is optimal if the required shrinking is minimal. In the second problem, we search for a bounded uncertainty set within the ellipsoid with maximum volume. We present how both problems can be solved analytically by stating explicit formulas for the optimal solutions of these problems.
Further, we present in a computational experiment how the derived approximation techniques can be used to approximate shortest path and network flow problems which are affected by ellipsoidal uncertainty.

We continue in this paper the study of k-adaptable robust solutions for combinatorial optimization problems with bounded uncertainty sets. In this concept not a single solution needs to be chosen to hedge against the uncertainty. Instead one is allowed to choose a set of k different solutions from which one can be chosen after the uncertain scenario has been revealed. We first show how the problem can be decomposed into polynomially many subproblems if k is fixed. In the remaining part of the paper we consider the special case where k=2, i.e., one is allowed to choose two different solutions to hedge against the uncertainty. We decompose this problem into so called coordination problems. The study of these coordination problems turns out to be interesting on its own. We prove positive results for the unconstrained combinatorial optimization problem, the matroid maximization problem, the selection problem, and the shortest path problem on series parallel graphs. The shortest path problem on general graphs turns out to be NP-complete. Further, we present for minimization problems how to transform approximation algorithms for the coordination problem to approximation algorithms for the original problem. We study the knapsack problem to show that this relation does not hold for maximization problems in general. We present a PTAS for the corresponding coordination problem and prove that the 2-adaptable knapsack problem is not at all approximable.

We extend the standard concept of robust optimization by the introduction of an alternative solution. In contrast to the classic concept, one is allowed to chose two solutions from which the best can be picked after the uncertain scenario has been revealed. We focus in this paper on the resulting robust problem for combinatorial problems with bounded uncertainty sets. We present a reformulation of the robust problem which decomposes it into polynomially many subproblems. In each subproblem one needs to find two solutions which are connected by a cost function which penalizes if the same element is part of both solutions. Using this reformulation, we show how the robust problem can be solved efficiently for the unconstrained combinatorial problem, the selection problem, and the minimum spanning tree problem. The robust problem corresponding to the shortest path problem turns out to be NP-complete on general graphs. However, for series-parallel graphs, the robust shortest path problem can be solved efficiently. Further, we show how approximation algorithms for the subproblem can be used to compute approximate solutions for the original problem.

We discuss the problem of evaluating a robust solution.
To this end, we first give a short primer on how to apply robustification approaches to uncertain optimization problems using the assignment problem and the knapsack problem as illustrative examples.
As it is not immediately clear in practice which such robustness approach is suitable for the problem at hand,
we present current approaches for evaluating and comparing robustness from the literature, and introduce the new concept of a scenario curve. Using the methods presented in this paper, an easy guide is given to the decision maker to find, solve and compare the best robust optimization method for his purposes.

Minmax regret optimization aims at finding robust solutions that perform best in the worst-case, compared to the respective optimum objective value in each scenario. Even for simple uncertainty sets like boxes, most polynomially solvable optimization problems have strongly NP-hard minmax regret counterparts. Thus, heuristics with performance guarantees can potentially be of great value, but only few such guarantees exist.
A very easy but effective approximation technique is to compute the midpoint solution of the original optimization problem, which aims at optimizing the average regret, and also the average nominal objective. It is a well-known result that the regret of the midpoint solution is at most 2 times the optimal regret. Besides some academic instances showing that this bound is tight, most instances reveal a way better approximation ratio.
We introduce a new lower bound for the optimal value of the minmax regret problem. Using this lower bound we state an algorithm that gives an instance dependent performance guarantee of the midpoint solution for combinatorial problems that is at most 2. The computational complexity of the algorithm depends on the minmax regret problem under consideration; we show that the sharpened guarantee can be computed in strongly polynomial time for several classes of combinatorial optimization problems.
To illustrate the quality of the proposed bound, we use it within a branch and bound framework for the robust shortest path problem. In an experimental study comparing this approach with a bound from the literature, we find a considerable improvement in computation times.

Geometric Programming is a useful tool with a wide range of applications in engineering. As in real-world problems input data is likely to be affected by uncertainty, Hsiung, Kim, and Boyd introduced robust geometric programming to include the uncertainty in the optimization process. They also developed a tractable approximation method to tackle this problem. Further, they pose the question whether there exists a tractable reformulation of their robust geometric programming model instead of only an approximation method. We give a negative answer to this question by showing that robust geometric programming is co-NP hard in its natural posynomial form.

The classic approach in robust optimization is to optimize the solution with respect to the worst case scenario. This pessimistic approach yields solutions that perform best if the worst scenario happens, but also usually perform bad on average. A solution that optimizes the average performance on the other hand lacks in worst-case performance guarantee.
In practice it is important to find a good compromise between these two solutions. We propose to deal with this problem by considering it from a bicriteria perspective. The Pareto curve of the bicriteria problem visualizes exactly how costly it is to ensure robustness and helps to choose the solution with the best balance between expected and guaranteed performance.
Building upon a theoretical observation on the structure of Pareto solutions for problems with polyhedral feasible sets, we present a column generation approach that requires no direct solution of the computationally expensive worst-case problem. In computational experiments we demonstrate the effectivity of both the proposed algorithm, and the bicriteria perspective in general.