• matroid polytpe;
  • cardinality constraints;
  • facets;
  • separation


Given a combinatorial optimization problem Π and an increasing finite sequence c of natural numbers, we obtain a cardinality constrained version Πc of Π by permitting only those feasible solutions of Π whose cardinalities are members of c. We are interested in polyhedra associated with those problems, in particular in inequalities that cut off solutions of forbidden cardinality. Maurras [9] and Camion and Maurras [1] introduced a family of inequalities, that we call forbidden set inequalities, which can be used to cut off those solutions. However, these inequalities are in general not facet defining for the polyhedron associated with Πc. In [7] it was shown how one can combine integer characterizations for cycle and path polytopes and a modified form of forbidden set inequalities to give facet defining integer representations for the cardinality restricted versions of these polytopes. Motivated by this work, we apply the same approach to the matroid polytope. It is well known that the so-called rank inequalities together with the nonnegativity constraints provide a complete linear description of the matroid polytope (see Edmonds [3]). By essentially adding the forbidden set inequalities in an appropriate form, we obtain a complete linear description of the cardinality constrained matroid polytope which is the convex hull of the incidence vectors of those independent sets that have a feasible cardinality. Moreover, we show how the separation problem for the forbidden set inequalities can be reduced to that for the rank inequalities. We also give necessary and sufficient conditions for a forbidden set inequality to be facet defining. © 2011 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. NETWORKS, 2011