# 17.2 The MPS File Format¶

**MOSEK** supports the standard MPS format with some extensions. For a detailed description of the MPS format see the book by Nazareth [Naz87].

## 17.2.1 MPS File Structure¶

The version of the MPS format supported by **MOSEK** allows specification of an optimization problem of the form

where

- \(x \in \real^n\) is the vector of decision variables.
- \(A \in \real^{m\times n}\) is the constraint matrix.
- \(l^c \in \real^m\) is the lower limit on the activity for the constraints.
- \(u^c \in \real^m\) is the upper limit on the activity for the constraints.
- \(l^x \in \real^n\) is the lower limit on the activity for the variables.
- \(u^x \in \real^n\) is the upper limit on the activity for the variables.
- \(q: \real^n \rightarrow \real\) is a vector of quadratic functions. Hence,

where it is assumed that

Please note the explicit \(\half\) in the quadratic term and that \(Q^i\) is required to be symmetric.

- \(\K\) is a convex cone.
- \(\mathcal{J} \subseteq \{1,2,\ldots ,n\}\) is an index set of the integer-constrained variables.

An MPS file with one row and one column can be illustrated like this:

```
* 1 2 3 4 5 6
*23456789012345678901234567890123456789012345678901234567890
NAME [name]
OBJSENSE
[objsense]
OBJNAME
[objname]
ROWS
? [cname1]
COLUMNS
[vname1] [cname1] [value1] [vname3] [value2]
RHS
[name] [cname1] [value1] [cname2] [value2]
RANGES
[name] [cname1] [value1] [cname2] [value2]
QSECTION [cname1]
[vname1] [vname2] [value1] [vname3] [value2]
QMATRIX
[vname1] [vname2] [value1]
QUADOBJ
[vname1] [vname2] [value1]
QCMATRIX [cname1]
[vname1] [vname2] [value1]
BOUNDS
?? [name] [vname1] [value1]
CSECTION [kname1] [value1] [ktype]
[vname1]
ENDATA
```

Here the names in capitals are keywords of the MPS format and names in brackets are custom defined names or values. A couple of notes on the structure:

Fields: All items surrounded by brackets appear in

*fields*. The fields named “`valueN`

” are numerical values. Hence, they must have the format[+|-]XXXXXXX.XXXXXX[[e|E][+|-]XXX] where .. code-block:: text X = [0|1|2|3|4|5|6|7|8|9].

Sections: The MPS file consists of several sections where the names in capitals indicate the beginning of a new section. For example,

`COLUMNS`

denotes the beginning of the columns section.Comments: Lines starting with an

`*`

are comment lines and are ignored by**MOSEK**.Keys: The question marks represent keys to be specified later.

Extensions: The sections

`QSECTION`

and`CSECTION`

are specific**MOSEK**extensions of the MPS format. The sections`QMATRIX`

,`QUADOBJ`

and`QCMATRIX`

are included for sake of compatibility with other vendors extensions to the MPS format.

The standard MPS format is a fixed format, i.e. everything in the MPS file must be within certain fixed positions. **MOSEK** also supports a *free format*. See Sec. 17.2.9 (The Free MPS Format) for details.

Linear example `lo1.mps`

A concrete example of a MPS file is presented below:

```
* File: lo1.mps
NAME lo1
OBJSENSE
MAX
ROWS
N obj
E c1
G c2
L c3
COLUMNS
x1 obj 3
x1 c1 3
x1 c2 2
x2 obj 1
x2 c1 1
x2 c2 1
x2 c3 2
x3 obj 5
x3 c1 2
x3 c2 3
x4 obj 1
x4 c2 1
x4 c3 3
RHS
rhs c1 30
rhs c2 15
rhs c3 25
RANGES
BOUNDS
UP bound x2 10
ENDATA
```

Subsequently each individual section in the MPS format is discussed.

### 17.2.1.1 Section `NAME`

¶

In this section a name (`[name]`

) is assigned to the problem.

### 17.2.1.2 `OBJSENSE`

(optional)¶

This is an optional section that can be used to specify the sense of the objective function. The `OBJSENSE`

section contains one line at most which can be one of the following

```
MIN
MINIMIZE
MAX
MAXIMIZE
```

It should be obvious what the implication is of each of these four lines.

### 17.2.1.3 `OBJNAME`

(optional)¶

This is an optional section that can be used to specify the name of the row that is used as objective function. The `OBJNAME`

section contains one line at most which has the form

```
objname
```

`objname`

should be a valid row name.

### 17.2.1.4 `ROWS`

¶

A record in the `ROWS`

section has the form

```
? [cname1]
```

where the requirements for the fields are as follows:

Field | Starting Position | Max Width | required | Description |
---|---|---|---|---|

? | 2 | 1 | Yes | Constraint key |

`[cname1]` |
5 | 8 | Yes | Constraint name |

Hence, in this section each constraint is assigned an unique name denoted by `[cname1]`

. Please note that `[cname1]`

starts in position 5 and the field can be at most 8 characters wide. An initial key `?`

must be present to specify the type of the constraint. The key can have the values `E`

, `G`

, `L`

, or `N`

with the following interpretation:

Constraint type | \(l_{i}^{c}\) | \(u_i^c\) |
---|---|---|

`E` |
finite | \(l_i^c\) |

`G` |
finite | \(\infty\) |

`L` |
\(-\infty\) | finite |

`N` |
\(-\infty\) | \(\infty\) |

In the MPS format an objective vector is not specified explicitly, but one of the constraints having the key `N`

will be used as the objective vector \(c\) . In general, if multiple `N`

type constraints are specified, then the first will be used as the objective vector \(c\).

### 17.2.1.5 `COLUMNS`

¶

In this section the elements of \(A\) are specified using one or more records having the form:

```
[vname1] [cname1] [value1] [cname2] [value2]
```

where the requirements for each field are as follows:

Field | Starting Position | Max Width | required | Description |
---|---|---|---|---|

`[vname1]` |
5 | 8 | Yes | Variable name |

`[cname1]` |
15 | 8 | Yes | Constraint name |

`[value1]` |
25 | 12 | Yes | Numerical value |

`[cname2]` |
40 | 8 | No | Constraint name |

`[value2]` |
50 | 12 | No | Numerical value |

Hence, a record specifies one or two elements \(a_{ij}\) of \(A\) using the principle that `[vname1]`

and `[cname1]`

determines \(j\) and \(i\) respectively. Please note that `[cname1]`

must be a constraint name specified in the `ROWS`

section. Finally, `[value1]`

denotes the numerical value of \(a_{ij}\) . Another optional element is specified by `[cname2]`

, and `[value2]`

for the variable specified by `[vname1]`

. Some important comments are:

- All elements belonging to one variable must be grouped together.
- Zero elements of \(A\) should not be specified.
- At least one element for each variable should be specified.

### 17.2.1.6 `RHS`

(optional)¶

A record in this section has the format

```
[name] [cname1] [value1] [cname2] [value2]
```

where the requirements for each field are as follows:

Field | Starting Position | Max Width | required | Description |
---|---|---|---|---|

`[name]` |
5 | 8 | Yes | Name of the `RHS` vector |

`[cname1]` |
15 | 8 | Yes | Constraint name |

`[value1]` |
25 | 12 | Yes | Numerical value |

`[cname2]` |
40 | 8 | No | Constraint name |

`[value2]` |
50 | 12 | No | Numerical value |

The interpretation of a record is that `[name]`

is the name of the `RHS`

vector to be specified. In general, several vectors can be specified. `[cname1]`

denotes a constraint name previously specified in the `ROWS`

section. Now, assume that this name has been assigned to the \(i\) th constraint and \(v_1\) denotes the value specified by `[value1]`

, then the interpretation of \(v_1\) is:

Constraint | \(l_i^c\) | \(u_i^c\) |
---|---|---|

type | ||

`E` |
\(v_1\) | \(v_1\) |

`G` |
\(v_1\) | |

`L` |
\(v_1\) | |

`N` |

An optional second element is specified by `[cname2]`

and `[value2]`

and is interpreted in the same way. Please note that it is not necessary to specify zero elements, because elements are assumed to be zero.

### 17.2.1.7 `RANGES`

(optional)¶

A record in this section has the form

```
[name] [cname1] [value1] [cname2] [value2]
```

where the requirements for each fields are as follows:

Field | Starting Position | Max Width | required | Description |
---|---|---|---|---|

`[name]` |
5 | 8 | Yes | Name of the `RANGE` vector |

`[cname1]` |
15 | 8 | Yes | Constraint name |

`[value1]` |
25 | 12 | Yes | Numerical value |

`[cname2]` |
40 | 8 | No | Constraint name |

`[value2]` |
50 | 12 | No | Numerical value |

The records in this section are used to modify the bound vectors for the constraints, i.e. the values in \(l^c\) and \(u^c\) . A record has the following interpretation:`[name]`

is the name of the `RANGE`

vector and `[cname1]`

is a valid constraint name. Assume that `[cname1]`

is assigned to the \(i\) th constraint and let \(v_1\) be the value specified by `[value1]`

, then a record has the interpretation:

Constraint type | Sign of \(v_1\) | \(l_i^c\) | \(u_i^c\) |
---|---|---|---|

`E` |
\(-\) | \(u_i^c+v_1\) | |

`E` |
\(+\) | \(l_i^c+v_1\) | |

`G` |
\(-\) or \(+\) | \(l_i^c+|v_1|\) | |

`L` |
\(-\) or \(+\) | \(u_i^c-|v_1|\) | |

`N` |

### 17.2.1.8 `QSECTION`

(optional)¶

Within the `QSECTION`

the label `[cname1]`

must be a constraint name previously specified in the `ROWS`

section. The label `[cname1]`

denotes the constraint to which the quadratic term belongs. A record in the `QSECTION`

has the form

```
[vname1] [vname2] [value1] [vname3] [value2]
```

where the requirements for each field are:

Field | Starting Position | Max Width | required | Description |
---|---|---|---|---|

`[vname1]` |
5 | 8 | Yes | Variable name |

`[vname2]` |
15 | 8 | Yes | Variable name |

`[value1]` |
25 | 12 | Yes | Numerical value |

`[vname3]` |
40 | 8 | No | Variable name |

`[value2]` |
50 | 12 | No | Numerical value |

A record specifies one or two elements in the lower triangular part of the \(Q^i\) matrix where `[cname1]`

specifies the \(i\) . Hence, if the names `[vname1]`

and `[vname2]`

have been assigned to the \(k\) th and \(j\) th variable, then \(Q_{kj}^i\) is assigned the value given by `[value1]`

An optional second element is specified in the same way by the fields `[vname1]`

, `[vname3]`

, and `[value2]`

.

The example

has the following MPS file representation

```
* File: qo1.mps
NAME qo1
ROWS
N obj
G c1
COLUMNS
x1 c1 1.0
x2 obj -1.0
x2 c1 1.0
x3 c1 1.0
RHS
rhs c1 1.0
QSECTION obj
x1 x1 2.0
x1 x3 -1.0
x2 x2 0.2
x3 x3 2.0
ENDATA
```

Regarding the `QSECTION`

s please note that:

- Only one
`QSECTION`

is allowed for each constraint. - The
`QSECTION`

s can appear in an arbitrary order after the`COLUMNS`

section. - All variable names occurring in the
`QSECTION`

must already be specified in the`COLUMNS`

section. - All entries specified in a
`QSECTION`

are assumed to belong to the lower triangular part of the quadratic term of \(Q\) .

### 17.2.1.9 `QMATRIX/QUADOBJ`

(optional)¶

The `QMATRIX`

and `QUADOBJ`

sections allow to define the quadratic term of the objective function. They differ in how the quadratic term of the objective function is stored:

`QMATRIX`

It stores all the nonzeros coefficients, withouot taking advantage of the symmetry of the \(Q\) matrix.`QUADOBJ`

It only store the upper diagonal nonzero elements of the \(Q\) matrix.

A record in both sections has the form:

```
[vname1] [vname2] [value1]
```

where the requirements for each field are:

Field | Starting Position | Max Width | required | Description |
---|---|---|---|---|

`[vname1]` |
5 | 8 | Yes | Variable name |

`[vname2]` |
15 | 8 | Yes | Variable name |

`[value1]` |
25 | 12 | Yes | Numerical value |

A record specifies one elements of the \(Q\) matrix in the objective function . Hence, if the names `[vname1]`

and `[vname2]`

have been assigned to the \(k\) th and \(j\) th variable, then \(Q_{kj}\) is assigned the value given by `[value1]`

. Note that a line must apper for each off-diagonal coefficient if using a `QMATRIX`

section, while only one entry is required in a `QUADOBJ`

section. The quadratic part of the objective function will be evaluated as \(1/2x^T Q x\).

The example

has the following MPS file representation using `QMATRIX`

```
* File: qo1_matrix.mps
NAME qo1_qmatrix
ROWS
N obj
G c1
COLUMNS
x1 c1 1.0
x2 obj -1.0
x2 c1 1.0
x3 c1 1.0
RHS
rhs c1 1.0
QMATRIX
x1 x1 2.0
x1 x3 -1.0
x3 x1 -1.0
x2 x2 0.2
x3 x3 2.0
ENDATA
```

or the following using `QUADOBJ`

```
* File: qo1_quadobj.mps
NAME qo1_quadobj
ROWS
N obj
G c1
COLUMNS
x1 c1 1.0
x2 obj -1.0
x2 c1 1.0
x3 c1 1.0
RHS
rhs c1 1.0
QUADOBJ
x1 x1 2.0
x1 x3 -1.0
x2 x2 0.2
x3 x3 2.0
ENDATA
```

Please also note that:

- A
`QMATRIX`

/`QUADOBJ`

section can appear in an arbitrary order after the`COLUMNS`

section. - All variable names occurring in the
`QMATRIX`

/`QUADOBJ`

section must already be specified in the`COLUMNS`

section.

## 17.2.2 `QCMATRIX`

(optional)¶

A `QCMATRIX`

section allows to specify the quadratic part of a given constraints. Within the `QCMATRIX`

the label `[cname1]`

must be a constraint name previously specified in the `ROWS`

section. The label `[cname1]`

denotes the constraint to which the quadratic term belongs. A record in the `QSECTION`

has the form

```
[vname1] [vname2] [value1]
```

where the requirements for each field are:

Field | Starting Position | Max Width | required | Description |
---|---|---|---|---|

`[vname1]` |
5 | 8 | Yes | Variable name |

`[vname2]` |
15 | 8 | Yes | Variable name |

`[value1]` |
25 | 12 | Yes | Numerical value |

A record specifies an entry of the \(Q^i\) matrix where `[cname1]`

specifies the \(i\). Hence, if the names `[vname1]`

and `[vname2]`

have been assigned to the \(k\) th and \(j\) th variable, then \(Q_{kj}^i\) is assigned the value given by `[value1]`

. Moreover, the quadratic term is represented as \(1/2 x^T Q x\).

The example

has the following MPS file representation

```
* File: qo1.mps
NAME qo1
ROWS
N obj
G c1
L q1
COLUMNS
x1 c1 1.0
x2 obj -1.0
x2 c1 1.0
x3 c1 1.0
RHS
rhs c1 1.0
rhs q1 10.0
QCMATRIX q1
x1 x1 2.0
x1 x3 -1.0
x3 x1 -1.0
x2 x2 0.2
x3 x3 2.0
ENDATA
```

Regarding the `QCMATRIX`

s please note that:

- Only one
`QCMATRIX`

is allowed for each constraint. - The
`QCMATRIX`

s can appear in an arbitrary order after the`COLUMNS`

section. - All variable names occurring in the
`QSECTION`

must already be specified in the`COLUMNS`

section. - A
`QCMATRIX`

does not exploit the symmetry of \(Q\): an off-diagonal entry \((i,j)\) should apperas twice.

## 17.2.3 `BOUNDS`

(optional)¶

In the `BOUNDS`

section changes to the default bounds vectors \(l^x\) and \(u^x\) are specified. The default bounds vectors are \(l^x = 0\) and \(u^x = \infty\) . Moreover, it is possible to specify several sets of bound vectors. A record in this section has the form

```
?? [name] [vname1] [value1]
```

where the requirements for each field are:

Field | Starting Position | Max Width | Required | Description |
---|---|---|---|---|

`??` |
2 | 2 | Yes | Bound key |

`[name]` |
5 | 8 | Yes | Name of the `BOUNDS` vector |

`[vname1]` |
15 | 8 | Yes | Variable name |

`[value1]` |
25 | 12 | No | Numerical value |

Hence, a record in the `BOUNDS`

section has the following interpretation:`[name]`

is the name of the bound vector and `[vname1]`

is the name of the variable which bounds are modified by the record. `??`

and `[value1]`

are used to modify the bound vectors according to the following table:

`??` |
\(l_j^x\) | \(u_j^x\) | Made integer (added to \(\mathcal{J}\) ) |
---|---|---|---|

`FR` |
\(-\infty\) | \(\infty\) | No |

`FX` |
\(v_1\) | \(v_1\) | No |

`LO` |
\(v_1\) | unchanged | No |

`MI` |
\(-\infty\) | unchanged | No |

`PL` |
unchanged | \(\infty\) | No |

`UP` |
unchanged | \(v_1\) | No |

`BV` |
\(0\) | 1 | Yes |

`LI` |
\(\lceil v_1 \rceil\) | unchanged | Yes |

`UI` |
unchanged | \(\lfloor v_1 \rfloor\) | Yes |

v_1 is the value specified by `[value1]`

.

## 17.2.4 `CSECTION`

(optional)¶

The purpose of the `CSECTION`

is to specify the constraint

in (1). It is assumed that \(\K\) satisfies the following requirements. Let

be vectors comprised of parts of the decision variables \(x\) so that each decision variable is a member of exactly **one** vector \(x^t\), for example

Next define

where \(\K_t\) must have one of the following forms

\(\real\) set:

\[\K_t = \left\{ x \in \real^{n^t} \right\}.\]Quadratic cone:

Rotated quadratic cone:

In general, only quadratic and rotated quadratic cones are specified in the MPS file whereas membership of the \(\real\) set is not. If a variable is not a member of any other cone then it is assumed to be a member of an \(\real\) cone.

Next, let us study an example. Assume that the quadratic cone

and the rotated quadratic cone

should be specified in the MPS file. One `CSECTION`

is required for each cone and they are specified as follows:

```
* 1 2 3 4 5 6
*23456789012345678901234567890123456789012345678901234567890
CSECTION konea 0.0 QUAD
x4
x5
x8
CSECTION koneb 0.0 RQUAD
x7
x3
x1
x0
```

This first `CSECTION`

specifies the cone (2) which is given the name `konea`

. This is a quadratic cone which is specified by the keyword `QUAD`

in the `CSECTION`

header. The 0.0 value in the `CSECTION`

header is not used by the `QUAD`

cone.

The second `CSECTION`

specifies the rotated quadratic cone (3). Please note the keyword `RQUAD`

in the `CSECTION`

which is used to specify that the cone is a rotated quadratic cone instead of a quadratic cone. The 0.0 value in the `CSECTION`

header is not used by the `RQUAD`

cone.

In general, a `CSECTION`

header has the format

```
CSECTION [kname1] [value1] [ktype]
```

where the requirement for each field are as follows:

Field | Starting Position | Max Width | Required | Description |
---|---|---|---|---|

`[kname1]` |
5 | 8 | Yes | Name of the cone |

`[value1]` |
15 | 12 | No | Cone parameter |

`[ktype]` |
25 | Yes | Type of the cone. |

The possible cone type keys are:

Cone type key | Members | Interpretation. |
---|---|---|

`QUAD` |
\(\leq 1\) | Quadratic cone i.e. (2). |

`RQUAD` |
\(\leq 2\) | Rotated quadratic cone i.e. (3). |

Please note that a quadratic cone must have at least one member whereas a rotated quadratic cone must have at least two members. A record in the `CSECTION`

has the format

```
[vname1]
```

where the requirements for each field are

Field | Starting Position | Max Width | required | Description |
---|---|---|---|---|

`[vname1]` |
2 | 8 | Yes | A valid variable name |

The most important restriction with respect to the `CSECTION`

is that a variable must occur in only one `CSECTION`

.

## 17.2.5 `ENDATA`

¶

This keyword denotes the end of the MPS file.

## 17.2.6 Integer Variables¶

Using special bound keys in the `BOUNDS`

section it is possible to specify that some or all of the variables should be integer-constrained i.e. be members of \(\mathcal{J}\) . However, an alternative method is available.

This method is available only for backward compatibility and we recommend that it is not used. This method requires that markers are placed in the `COLUMNS`

section as in the example:

```
COLUMNS
x1 obj -10.0 c1 0.7
x1 c2 0.5 c3 1.0
x1 c4 0.1
* Start of integer-constrained variables.
MARK000 'MARKER' 'INTORG'
x2 obj -9.0 c1 1.0
x2 c2 0.8333333333 c3 0.66666667
x2 c4 0.25
x3 obj 1.0 c6 2.0
MARK001 'MARKER' 'INTEND'
```

- End of integer-constrained variables.

Please note that special marker lines are used to indicate the start and the end of the integer variables. Furthermore be aware of the following

- IMPORTANT: All variables between the markers are assigned a default lower bound of 0 and a default upper bound of 1.
**This may not be what is intended.**If it is not intended, the correct bounds should be defined in the`BOUNDS`

section of the MPS formatted file. **MOSEK**ignores field 1, i.e.`MARK0001`

and`MARK001`

, however, other optimization systems require them.- Field 2, i.e.
`MARKER`

, must be specified including the single quotes. This implies that no row can be assigned the name`MARKER`

. - Field 3 is ignored and should be left blank.
- Field 4, i.e.
`INTORG`

and`INTEND`

, must be specified. - It is possible to specify several such integer marker sections within the
`COLUMNS`

section.

## 17.2.7 General Limitations¶

- An MPS file should be an ASCII file.

## 17.2.8 Interpretation of the MPS Format¶

Several issues related to the MPS format are not well-defined by the industry standard. However, **MOSEK** uses the following interpretation:

- If a matrix element in the
`COLUMNS`

section is specified multiple times, then the multiple entries are added together. - If a matrix element in a
`QSECTION`

section is specified multiple times, then the multiple entries are added together.

## 17.2.9 The Free MPS Format¶

**MOSEK** supports a free format variation of the MPS format. The free format is similar to the MPS file format but less restrictive, e.g. it allows longer names. However, it also presents two main limitations:

- A name must not contain any blanks.

- By default a line in the MPS file must not contain more than 1024 characters. However, by modifying the parameter
`iparam.read_mps_width`

an arbitrary large line width will be accepted.

To use the free MPS format instead of the default MPS format the **MOSEK** parameter `iparam.read_mps_format`

should be changed.