The elastic-mode formulation of the problem of minimizing a nonlinear function subject to equilibrium constraints has appealing local properties in that, for a finite value of the penalty parameter, local solutions satisfying first- and second-order necessary optimality conditions for the original problem are also first- and second-order points of the elastic-mode formulation. Here we study global convergence properties of methods based on this formulation, which involve generating an (exact or inexact) first- or second-order point of the formulation, for nondecreasing values of the penalty parameter. Under certain regularity conditions on the active constraints, we establish finite or asymptotic convergence to points having a certain stationarity property (such as strong stationarity, M-stationarity, or C-stationarity). Numerical experience with these approaches is discussed. In particular, our analysis and the numerical evidence show that exact complementarity can be achieved finitely even when the elastic-mode formulation is solved inexactly.
Preprint ANL/MCS P1242-0405, MCS Division, Argonne National Laboratory