Derivative-free optimization methods

In many optimization problems arising from scientific, engineering and artificial intelligence applications, objective and constraint functions are available only as the output of a black-box or simulation oracle that does not provide derivative information. Such settings necessitate the use of methods for derivative-free, or zeroth-order, optimization. We provide a review and perspectives on developments in … Read more

Convergence Rate Analysis of a Stochastic Trust Region Method via Supermartingales

We propose a novel framework for analyzing convergence rates of stochastic optimization algorithms with adaptive step sizes. This framework is based on analysing properties of an underlying generic stochastic process, in particular by deriving a bound on the expected stopping time of this process. We utilise this framework to analyse the bounds on expected global … Read more

Optimal Decision Trees for Categorical Data via Integer Programming

Decision trees have been a very popular class of predictive models for decades due to their interpretability and good performance on categorical features. However, they are not always robust and tend to overfit the data. Additionally, if allowed to grow large, they lose interpretability. In this paper, we present a novel mixed integer programming formulation … Read more

Derivative-Free Robust Optimization by Outer Approximations

We develop an algorithm for minimax problems that arise in robust optimization in the absence of objective function derivatives. The algorithm utilizes an extension of methods for inexact outer approximation in sampling a potentially infinite-cardinality uncertainty set. Clarke stationarity of the algorithm output is established alongside desirable features of the model-based trust-region subproblems encountered. We … Read more

Manifold Sampling for L1 Nonconvex Optimization

We present a new algorithm, called manifold sampling, for the unconstrained minimization of a nonsmooth composite function $h\circ F$ when $h$ has known structure. In particular, by classifying points in the domain of the nonsmooth function $h$ into manifolds, we adapt search directions within a trust-region framework based on knowledge of manifolds intersecting the current … Read more

Stochastic Optimization using a Trust-Region Method and Random Models

In this paper, we propose and analyze a trust-region model-based algorithm for solving unconstrained stochastic optimization problems. Our framework utilizes random models of an objective function $f(x)$, obtained from stochastic observations of the function or its gradient. Our method also utilizes estimates of function values to gauge progress that is being made. The convergence analysis … Read more