This paper presents a finite difference quasi-Newton method for the minimization of noisy functions. The method takes advantage of the scalability and power of BFGS updating, and employs an adaptive procedure for choosing the differencing interval h based on the noise estimation techniques of Hamming (2012) and Moré and Wild (2011). This noise estimation procedure and the selection of h are inexpensive but not always accurate, and to prevent failures the algorithm incorporates a recovery mechanism that takes appropriate action in the case when the line search procedure is unable to produce an acceptable point. A novel convergence analysis is presented that considers the effect of a noisy line search procedure. Numerical experiments comparing the method to a function interpolating trust region method are presented.
Northwestern University, March 2018