Primal and dual mixed-integer least-squares: distributional statistics and global algorithm

P. J.G. Teunissen*, L. Massarweh

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

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In this contribution we introduce the dual mixed-integer least-squares problem and study it in relation to its primal counterpart. The dual differs from the primal formulation in the order in which the integer ambiguity vector a∈Zn and baseline vector b∈Rp are estimated. As not the ambiguities, but rather the entries of b are usually the parameters of interest, the attractiveness of the dual formulation stems from its direct computation of b. It is shown that this potential advantage relies on the ease with which an implicit integer least-squares problem of the dual can be solved. For the convoluted cases, we introduce two methods of simplifying approximations. To be able to describe their quality, we provide a complete distributional analysis of their estimators, thus allowing users to judge whether or not the approximations are acceptable for their application. It is shown that this approach implicitly introduces a new class of admissible integer estimators of which we also determine the pull-in regions. As the dual function is shown to lack convexity, special care is required to be able to compute its global minimizer bˇ. Our proposed method, which has finite termination with a guaranteed ϵ-tolerance, is constructed from combining the branch-and-bound principle, with a special convex-relaxation of the dual, to which the projected-gradient-descent method is applied to obtain the required bounds. Each of the method’s three constituents are described, whereby special emphasis is given to the construction of the required continuously differentiable, convex lower bounding function of the dual.

Original languageEnglish
Article number63
Number of pages26
JournalJournal of Geodesy
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - 2024


  • Ambiguity resolution
  • Ambiguity success-rate (SR)
  • Branch-and-bound (BB)
  • Convex-relaxation
  • Dual mixed ILS
  • GNSS
  • Integer least-squares (ILS)
  • Least-squares (LS)
  • Primal mixed ILS
  • Projected-gradient-descent (PGD)
  • Pull-in region


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