Exploiting Negative Curvature in Deterministic and Stochastic Optimization

This paper addresses the question of whether it can be beneficial for an optimization algorithm to follow directions of negative curvature. Although some prior work has established convergence results for algorithms that integrate both descent and negative curvature directions, there has not yet been numerical evidence showing that such methods offer significant performance improvements. In … Read more

Complexity Analysis of a Trust Funnel Algorithm for Equality Constrained Optimization

A method is proposed for solving equality constrained nonlinear optimization problems involving twice continuously differentiable functions. The method employs a trust funnel approach consisting of two phases: a first phase to locate an $\epsilon$-feasible point and a second phase to seek optimality while maintaining at least $\epsilon$-feasibility. A two-phase approach of this kind based on … Read more

R-Linear Convergence of Limited Memory Steepest Descent

The limited memory steepest descent method (LMSD) proposed by Fletcher is an extension of the Barzilai-Borwein “two-point step size” strategy for steepest descent methods for solving unconstrained optimization problems. It is known that the Barzilai-Borwein strategy yields a method with an R-linear rate of convergence when it is employed to minimize a strongly convex quadratic. … Read more

A Sequential Algorithm for Solving Nonlinear Optimization Problems with Chance Constraints

An algorithm is presented for solving nonlinear optimization problems with chance constraints, i.e., those in which a constraint involving an uncertain parameter must be satisfied with at least a minimum probability. In particular, the algorithm is designed to solve cardinality-constrained nonlinear optimization problems that arise in sample average approximations of chance-constrained problems, as well as … Read more

Optimization Methods for Large-Scale Machine Learning

This paper provides a review and commentary on the past, present, and future of numerical optimization algorithms in the context of machine learning applications. Through case studies on text classification and the training of deep neural networks, we discuss how optimization problems arise in machine learning and what makes them challenging. A major theme of … Read more

A Reduced-Space Algorithm for Minimizing $\ell_1hBcRegularized Convex Functions

We present a new method for minimizing the sum of a differentiable convex function and an $\ell_1$-norm regularizer. The main features of the new method include: $(i)$ an evolving set of indices corresponding to variables that are predicted to be nonzero at a solution (i.e., the support); $(ii)$ a reduced-space subproblem defined in terms of … Read more

A BFGS-SQP Method for Nonsmooth, Nonconvex, Constrained Optimization and its Evaluation using Relative Minimization Profiles

We propose an algorithm for solving nonsmooth, nonconvex, constrained optimization problems as well as a new set of visualization tools for comparing the performance of optimization algorithms. Our algorithm is a sequential quadratic optimization method that employs Broyden-Fletcher-Goldfarb-Shanno (BFGS) quasi-Newton Hessian approximations and an exact penalty function whose parameter is controlled using a steering strategy. … Read more

Handling Nonpositive Curvature in a Limited Memory Steepest Descent Method

We propose a limited memory steepest descent (LMSD) method for solving unconstrained optimization problems. As a steepest descent method, the step computation in each iteration requires the evaluation of a gradient of the objective function and the calculation of a scalar step size only. When employed to solve certain convex problems, our method reduces to … Read more

Globally Convergent Primal-Dual Active-Set Methods with Inexact Subproblem Solves

We propose primal-dual active-set (PDAS) methods for solving large-scale instances of an important class of convex quadratic optimization problems (QPs). The iterates of the algorithms are partitions of the index set of variables, where corresponding to each partition there exist unique primal-dual variables that can be obtained by solving a (reduced) linear system. Algorithms of … Read more

A Trust Region Algorithm with a Worst-Case Iteration Complexity of ${\cal O}(\epsilon^{-3/2})$ for Nonconvex Optimization

We propose a trust region algorithm for solving nonconvex smooth optimization problems. For any $\bar\epsilon \in (0,\infty)$, the algorithm requires at most $\mathcal{O}(\epsilon^{-3/2})$ iterations, function evaluations, and derivative evaluations to drive the norm of the gradient of the objective function below any $\epsilon \in (0,\bar\epsilon]$. This improves upon the $\mathcal{O}(\epsilon^{-2})$ bound known to hold for … Read more