We consider a Newton-CG augmented Lagrangian method for solving semidefinite programming (SDP) problems from the perspective of approximate semismooth Newton methods. In order to analyze the rate of convergence of our proposed method, we characterize the Lipschitz continuity of the corresponding solution mapping at the origin. For the inner problems, we show that the positive definiteness of the generalized Hessian of the objective function in these inner problems, a key property for ensuring the efficiency of using an inexact semismooth Newton-CG method to solve the inner problems, is equivalent to the constraint nondegeneracy of the corresponding dual problems. Numerical experiments on a variety of large scale SDPs with the matrix dimension n up to 4, 110 and the number of equality constraints m up to 2, 156, 544 show that the proposed method is very efficient. We are also able to solve the SDP problem fap36 (with n = 4, 110 and m = 1, 154, 467) in the Seventh DIMACS Implementation Challenge much more accurately than previous attempts.
preprint, National University of Singapore, March 2008.