We present a practical algorithm for computing the minimum volume n-dimensional ellipsoid that must contain m given points a_1, …, a_m \in R^n. This convex constrained problem arises in a variety of applied computational settings, particularly in data mining and robust statistics. Its structure makes it particularly amenable to solution by interior-point methods, and it has been the subject of much theoretical complexity analysis. Here we focus on computation. We present a combined interior-point and active-set method for solving this problem. Our computational results demonstrate that our method solves very large problem instances (m=30,000 and n=30) to a high degree of accuracy in under 30 seconds on a personal computer.
MIT Operations Research Center Working Paper OR 064-02