We show that unless P=NP, there cannot be a polynomial-time algorithm that finds a point within Euclidean distance $c^n$ (for any constant $c \ge 0$) of a local minimizer of an $n$-variate quadratic function over a polytope. This result (even with $c=0$) answers a question of Pardalos and Vavasis that appeared in 1992 on a list of seven open problems in complexity theory for numerical optimization. Our proof technique also implies that the problem of deciding whether a quadratic function has a local minimizer over an (unbounded) polyhedron, and that of deciding if a quartic polynomial has a local minimizer are NP-hard.

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View On the Complexity of Finding a Local Minimizer of a Quadratic Function over a Polytope