... is a Julia package for solving the college application problem, which is the following optimization problem:

\[ \begin{align*} \text{maximize}\quad & v(\mathcal{X}) = \operatorname{E}\Bigl[\max\bigr\{0, \max\{t_j Z_j : j \in \mathcal{X}\}\bigr\}\Bigr] \\ \text{subject to}\quad & \mathcal{X} \subseteq \mathcal{C}, ~~\sum_{j\in \mathcal{X}} g_j \leq H \end{align*}\]

Here $\mathcal{C} = \{ 1 \dots m\}$ is a collection of schools, $t_j$ is the utility associated with attending school $j$, and $Z_j$ is a random Bernoulli variable with probability $f_j$. The problem is to decide on a subset of schools $\mathcal{X}$ to apply to, given $g_j$, the application fee for school $j$, and $H$ the total budget to spend on applications. $v(\mathcal{X})$ represents the expected utility associated with the application portfolio $\mathcal{X}$, and by indexing the schools such that each $t_j \leq t_{j+1}$, it can be written in the following closed form:

\[ v(\mathcal{X}) = \sum_{j\in \mathcal{X}} \Bigl( f_j t_j \prod_{\substack{i \in \mathcal{X}: \\ i > j}} (1 - f_{i}) \Bigr)\]

The general college application problem is referred to in this package as the varied-costs college application problem. A special case, called the same-costs problem, occurs when each $g_j = 1$. Then the budget constraint becomes a simple cardinality constraint $\lvert \mathcal{X} \rvert \leq h$, where $h$ is written in lowercase to reflect the change in meaning.

The same-costs college application problem is solvable in polynomial time by a greedy algorithm, whereas the varied-costs problem is NP-complete (as can be shown by a reduction from the knapsack problem).

This package provides:

  • Types SameCostsMarket and VariedCostsMarket for holding problem instance data.
  • Various exact algorithms for SameCostsMarkets
  • Exact algorithms for VariedCostsMarkets
  • An approximation algorithm for VariedCostsMarkets
  • Heuristic algorithms for VariedCostsMarkets