Designing and analyzing algorithms with provable performance guarantees enables efficient optimization problem solving in different application domains, e.g. communication networks, transportation, economics, and manufacturing. Despite the significant contributions of approximation algorithms in engineering, only limited and isolated works contribute from this perspective in process systems engineering. The current paper discusses three representative, NP-hard problems in process systems engineering: (i) pooling, (ii) process scheduling, and (iii) heat exchanger network synthesis. We survey relevant results and raise major open questions. Further, we present approximation algorithms applications which are relevant to process systems engineering: (i) better mathematical modeling, (ii) problem classification, (iii) designing solution methods, and (iv) dealing with uncertainty. This paper aims to motivate further research at the intersection of approximation algorithms and process systems engineering.
- Approximation algorithms
- Heuristics with performance guarantees
- Theoretical computer science