We introduce the idea that using optimal classification trees (OCTs) and optimal classification trees with-hyperplanes (OCT-Hs), interpretable machine learning algorithms developed by Bertsimas and Dunn (Mach Learn 106(7):1039–1082, 2017), we are able to obtain insight on the strategy behind the optimal solution in continuous and mixed-integer convex optimization problem as a function of key parameters that affect the problem. In this way, optimization is not a black box anymore. Instead, we redefine optimization as a multiclass classification problem where the predictor gives insights on the logic behind the optimal solution. In other words, OCTs and OCT-Hs give optimization a voice. We show on several realistic examples that the accuracy behind our method is in the 90–100% range, while even when the predictions are not correct, the degree of suboptimality or infeasibility is very low. We compare optimal strategy predictions of OCTs and OCT-Hs and feedforward neural networks (NNs) and conclude that the performance of OCT-Hs and NNs is comparable. OCTs are somewhat weaker but often competitive. Therefore, our approach provides a novel insightful understanding of optimal strategies to solve a broad class of continuous and mixed-integer optimization problems.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Artificial Intelligence
- Multiclass classification
- Parametric optimization