Polynomial Norms

In this paper, we study polynomial norms, i.e. norms that are the dth root of a degree-d homogeneous polynomial f. We first show that a necessary and sufficient condition for f^(1/d) to be a norm is for f to be strictly convex, or equivalently, convex and positive definite. Though not all norms come from dth … Read more

Geometry of 3D Environments and Sum of Squares Polynomials

Motivated by applications in robotics and computer vision, we study problems related to spatial reasoning of a 3D environment using sublevel sets of polynomials. These include: tightly containing a cloud of points (e.g., representing an obstacle) with convex or nearly-convex basic semialgebraic sets, computation of Euclidean distance between two such sets, separation of two convex … Read more

Optimization over Structured Subsets of Positive Semidefinite Matrices via Column Generation

We develop algorithms for inner approximating the cone of positive semidefinite matrices via linear programming and second order cone programming. Starting with an initial linear algebraic approximation suggested recently by Ahmadi and Majumdar, we describe an iterative process through which our approximation is improved at every step. This is done using ideas from column generation … Read more

DC Decomposition of Nonconvex Polynomials with Algebraic Techniques

We consider the problem of decomposing a multivariate polynomial as the difference of two convex polynomials. We introduce algebraic techniques which reduce this task to linear, second order cone, and semidefinite programming. This allows us to optimize over subsets of valid difference of convex decompositions (dcds) and find ones that speed up the convex-concave procedure … Read more

Sum of Squares Basis Pursuit with Linear and Second Order Cone Programming

We devise a scheme for solving an iterative sequence of linear programs (LPs) or second order cone programs (SOCPs) to approximate the optimal value of any semidefinite program (SDP) or sum of squares (SOS) program. The first LP and SOCP-based bounds in the sequence come from the recent work of Ahmadi and Majumdar on diagonally … Read more

Some Applications of Polynomial Optimization in Operations Research and Real-Time Decision Making

We demonstrate applications of algebraic techniques that optimize and certify polynomial inequalities to problems of interest in the operations research and transportation engineering communities. Three problems are considered: (i) wireless coverage of targeted geographical regions with guaranteed signal quality and minimum transmission power, (ii) computing real-time certificates of collision avoidance for a simple model of … Read more

Lower Bounds on Complexity of Lyapunov Functions for Switched Linear Systems

We show that for any positive integer $d$, there are families of switched linear systems—in fixed dimension and defined by two matrices only—that are stable under arbitrary switching but do not admit (i) a polynomial Lyapunov function of degree $\leq d$, or (ii) a polytopic Lyapunov function with $\leq d$ facets, or (iii) a piecewise … Read more

Stability of Polynomial Differential Equations: Complexity and Converse Lyapunov Questions

We consider polynomial differential equations and make a number of contributions to the questions of (i) complexity of deciding stability, (ii) existence of polynomial Lyapunov functions, and (iii) existence of sum of squares (sos) Lyapunov functions. (i) We show that deciding local or global asymptotic stability of cubic vector fields is strongly NP-hard. Simple variations … Read more

Complexity of Ten Decision Problems in Continuous Time Dynamical Systems

We show that for continuous time dynamical systems described by polynomial differential equations of modest degree (typically equal to three), the following decision problems which arise in numerous areas of systems and control theory cannot have a polynomial time (or even pseudo-polynomial time) algorithm unless P=NP: local attractivity of an equilibrium point, stability of an … Read more

Algebraic Relaxations and Hardness Results in Polynomial Optimization and Lyapunov Analysis

The contributions of the first half of this thesis are on the computational and algebraic aspects of convexity in polynomial optimization. We show that unless P=NP, there exists no polynomial time (or even pseudo-polynomial time) algorithm that can decide whether a multivariate polynomial of degree four (or higher even degree) is globally convex. This solves … Read more