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Simplex Algorithm in Python

Updated on July 24, 2012


The Simplex algorithm is an optimization procedure for linear programs. As implied by "linear", the objective function for such a problem is a linear combination of the decision variables. Additionally, the region of possible solutions (aka "feasible region") is a convex polyhedron.

Considered one of the most important algorithms of all time, I've always found the existing open source implementations rather frustrating to use. When I was in graduate school, we had to use AMPL, a language specifically for modeling optimization problems (which was horrible and taught me little to nothing).

Later on, through my work, I found myself again dealing with linear optimization problems. By this time, however, I was armed with a relatively strong skillset in Python and could avoid using such a domain-specific language like AMPL. Below is a relatively straightforward implementation of the famous algorithm. As an added bonus to those you who might use this for homework problems, you can print the tableau after each pivot.

Simplex in Python

from __future__ import division
from numpy import *

class Tableau:

    def __init__(self, obj):
        self.obj = [1] + obj
        self.rows = []
        self.cons = []

    def add_constraint(self, expression, value):
        self.rows.append([0] + expression)

    def _pivot_column(self):
        low = 0
        idx = 0
        for i in range(1, len(self.obj)-1):
            if self.obj[i] < low:
                low = self.obj[i]
                idx = i
        if idx == 0: return -1
        return idx

    def _pivot_row(self, col):
        rhs = [self.rows[i][-1] for i in range(len(self.rows))]
        lhs = [self.rows[i][col] for i in range(len(self.rows))]
        ratio = []
        for i in range(len(rhs)):
            if lhs[i] == 0:
                ratio.append(99999999 * abs(max(rhs)))
        return argmin(ratio)

    def display(self):
        print '\n', matrix([self.obj] + self.rows)

    def _pivot(self, row, col):
        e = self.rows[row][col]
        self.rows[row] /= e
        for r in range(len(self.rows)):
            if r == row: continue
            self.rows[r] = self.rows[r] - self.rows[r][col]*self.rows[row]
        self.obj = self.obj - self.obj[col]*self.rows[row]

    def _check(self):
        if min(self.obj[1:-1]) >= 0: return 1
        return 0
    def solve(self):

        # build full tableau
        for i in range(len(self.rows)):
            self.obj += [0]
            ident = [0 for r in range(len(self.rows))]
            ident[i] = 1
            self.rows[i] += ident + [self.cons[i]]
            self.rows[i] = array(self.rows[i], dtype=float)
        self.obj = array(self.obj + [0], dtype=float)

        # solve
        while not self._check():
            c = self._pivot_column()
            r = self._pivot_row(c)
            print '\npivot column: %s\npivot row: %s'%(c+1,r+2)
if __name__ == '__main__':

    max z = 2x + 3y + 2z
    2x + y + z <= 4
    x + 2y + z <= 7
    z          <= 5
    x,y,z >= 0

    t = Tableau([-2,-3,-2])
    t.add_constraint([2, 1, 1], 4)
    t.add_constraint([1, 2, 1], 7)
    t.add_constraint([0, 0, 1], 5)


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    • profile image

      Karapiperis Al 4 years ago

      i copied this whole code in a python 2.7.3 version but there is no library/module with the name numpy. please if numpy is a module of your own can you post it ?

    • taw9 profile image

      taw9 4 years ago

      You can get Numpy from


    • moshahmed profile image

      moshahmed 4 years ago

      Useful and thanks. Bug fix: if 'lhs[i] == 0' should be 'lhs[i] less than equal 1e-5'

    • profile image

      Maxim 3 years ago

      Sooo .... how do I use it? I should be able to somehow specify a function, and starting parameters?

    • profile image

      TomTranter 2 years ago


      Thanks for posting this. I've been trying to figure out a problem using linear programming in python. It's possible in matlab using linprog as demonstrated here.

      I'm generating a random polyhedra want to know the largest inscribed sphere. Working out the normals of the faces is fine in python but formulating the problem to solve with linear programming is where I'm getting stuck. There are some optimisation functions in scipy but your function is the closest I've seen to something suitable and quick. Do you think it's possible to replicate the matlab code and solve using your function?


    • profile image

      Carlos 12 months ago

      Thank you so much for sharing your knowledge, your implementation is very simple and explicit. :)

    • profile image

      sasan 6 months ago

      Can you tell me what is array? it is used without definition and python defines that as an error!

    • profile image

      Rohith 3 months ago

      Thank you very much. This code, which uses classes has helped my to simplify my code.

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