ComplementaryVariable Declaration and Attributes

Complementarity variables

To support you in formulating a complementarity model, AIMMS provides a special type of variable, the ComplementaryVariable. The attributes of a complementarity variable allow you to declare an (indexed) class of variables in a complementarity model along with their associated constraints. The attributes of a ComplementaryVariable are listed in this table.

Automatic sanity checks

By construction, this new variable type automatically ensures that every variable in a complementarity model is associated with a single constraint. Also, when AIMMS detects that the total number of (finite) bounds on both the complementarity variable and its associated constraint is not equal to two (as required above), a compilation error will result. Thus, ComplementaryVariable will help to reduce the most common declaration errors for this type of model.



See also page



The IndexDomain attribute, Index domain for variables



The Range attribute


unit-valued expression

The Parameter Unit attribute, The Variable Unit attribute



The Text and Comment attributes, The Text attribute


comment string

The Text and Comment attributes



The Definition attribute



The NonvarStatus attribute


NoSave, Complement

The IndexDomain attribute

Through the IndexDomain attribute of a complementarity variable you can specify domain of tuples for which you want AIMMS to generate a variable and its associated constraint. During generation, AIMMS will only generate a variable for all tuples that satisfy all domain restrictions that you have imposed on the domain.

The Range attribute

In the Range attribute you can specify the lower and upper bound of a complementarity variable, in a similar manner for ordinary Variables (see also Variable Declaration and Attributes). During generation, AIMMS will perform a runtime check, for every individual tuple in the index domain, whether the number of finite bounds specified here, plus the number of finite bounds in the constraint specified in the Complement attribute, exactly equals two.

The Complement attribute

The Complement attribute allows you to specify the constraint that must be associated with the complementarity variable at hand. With \(f(x,\dots)\) a general nonlinear function, the following types of expressions are allowed

  • \(\phantom{a\leq{}}f(x,\dots)\geq a\) (variable must have a single-sided Range),

  • \(\phantom{a\leq{}}f(x,\dots)\leq a\) (variable must have a single-sided Range),

  • \(a \leq f(x,\dots) \leq b\) (variable must be free),

  • \(\phantom{a\leq{}}f(x,\dots)= a\) (variable must be free), or

  • \(\phantom{a\leq{}}f(x,\dots)\phantom{{}\leq b}\) (variable must be bounded).

In addition, the Complement attribute can refer to an existing Constraint in your model, which then should hold a definition as one of the cases above. The Complement attribute can also hold a scalar element parameter into the set AllConstraints, which offers the possibility to assign different constraints to the complementarity variable in sequential solves.

Constraint listing

In the constraint listing, the constraints associated with a complementarity variable will be listed with a generated name consisting of the name of the ComplementarityVariable with an additional suffix _complement.

The NonvarStatus attribute

With the NonvarStatus attribute you can indicate for which tuples you want AIMMS to consider the complementarity variable as a parameter, i.e. with the lower and upper bound set equal to the level value prior to solving the model (see also The Priority, Nonvar and RelaxStatus Attributes). From the mixed complementarity condition it follows that the function in the corresponding constraint is then allowed to assume arbitrary values, whence there is no strict need to generate the variable and constraint for the solver.

Positive and negative values

The value of the NonvarStatus attribute must be an expression in some or all of the indices in the index list of the variable, allowing you to change the nonvariable status of individual elements or groups of elements at once. When the NonvarStatus assumes a positive value, AIMMS will not generate the variable and its associated constraint. For negative values, the variable and constraint will be generated, but reduces to the second special case of the mixed complementarity condition

\[\hat{x}_i = x_i - x_i^0 = 0 \quad \text{and}\quad f_i(x) \text{ is "free"},\]

i.e. the function in the constraint will be allowed to assume arbitrary values.

The Unit attribute

Providing a unit for a complementarity variable will help you in a number of ways.

  • AIMMS will help you to check the consistency of all the constraints and assignments in your model (including the expression in the Complement attribute), and

  • AIMMS will use the units to scale the model that is sent to the solver.

Proper scaling of a model will generally result in a more accurate and robust solution process. You can find more information on the definition and use of units to scale mathematical programs in Units of Measurement.

The Property attribute

Complementarity variables support the properties NoSave and Complement. With the property NoSave you indicate that you do not want to store data associated with this variable in a case. The Complement property indicates that you are interested in the level values of the constraint defined in the Complement attribute. When this property is set, AIMMS will make the level value of this constraint available through the .Complement suffix of the complementarity variable at hand.


The declaration of the complementarity variable MembraneHeight expresses a complementarity condition for the height of a membrane in a rectangular \((x,y)\)-grid, with a uniform external force acting on each cell in the grid.

ComplementaryVariable MembraneHeight {
    IndexDomain  : (x,y);
    Range        : [MembraneLowerBound(x,y), MembraneUpperBound(x,y)];
    Complement   : {
        - MembraneHeight(x+1,y) - MembraneHeight(x-1,y)
        - MembraneHeight(x,y+1) - MembraneHeight(x,y-1)
        - CellForce

The complementarity condition expresses that either the membrane reaches one its given bounds (for instance, an obstacle placed in the way of the membrane), or the external force on the cell must be equal to the internal forces acting on the cell caused by differences in height with neighboring cells.