Sums of Separable and Quadratic Polynomials

We study separable plus quadratic (SPQ) polynomials, i.e., polynomials that are the sum of univariate polynomials in different variables and a quadratic polynomial. Motivated by the fact that nonnegative separable and nonnegative quadratic polynomials are sums of squares, we study whether nonnegative SPQ polynomials are (i) the sum of a nonnegative separable and a nonnegative … Read more

Shape-Constrained Regression using Sum of Squares Polynomials

We consider the problem of fitting a polynomial function to a set of data points, each data point consisting of a feature vector and a response variable. In contrast to standard polynomial regression, we require that the polynomial regressor satisfy shape constraints, such as monotonicity, Lipschitz-continuity, or convexity. We show how to use semidefinite programming … Read more

A Survey of Recent Scalability Improvements for Semidefinite Programming with Applications in Machine Learning, Control, and Robotics

Historically, scalability has been a major challenge to the successful application of semidefinite programming in fields such as machine learning, control, and robotics. In this paper, we survey recent approaches for addressing this challenge including (i) approaches for exploiting structure (e.g., sparsity and symmetry) in a problem, (ii) approaches that produce low-rank approximate solutions to … Read more

On the Complexity of Detecting Convexity over a Box

It has recently been shown that the problem of testing global convexity of polynomials of degree four is {strongly} NP-hard, answering an open question of N.Z. Shor. This result is minimal in the degree of the polynomial when global convexity is of concern. In a number of applications however, one is interested in testing convexity … Read more

On the Construction of Converging Hierarchies for Polynomial Optimization Based on Certificates of Global Positivity

In recent years, techniques based on convex optimization and real algebra that produce converging hierarchies of lower bounds for polynomial minimization problems have gained much popularity. At their heart, these hierarchies rely crucially on Positivstellens\”atze from the late 20th century (e.g., due to Stengle, Putinar, or Schm\”udgen) that certify positivity of a polynomial on an … Read more

Improving Efficiency and Scalability of Sum of Squares Optimization: Recent Advances and Limitations

It is well-known that any sum of squares (SOS) program can be cast as a semidefinite program (SDP) of a particular structure and that therein lies the computational bottleneck for SOS programs, as the SDPs generated by this procedure are large and costly to solve when the polynomials involved in the SOS programs have a … Read more

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