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Title: Some Algorithms for Large-Scale Linear and Convex Minimization in Relative Scale
Authors: Richtarik, Peter
Keywords: large-scale optimization
linear programming
convex minimization
first-order methods
nonsmooth optimization
relative scale
truss topology design
optimal design
Frank-Wolfe algorithm
ellipsoid method
iteratively reweighted least squares
O(1/\epsilon) convergence
Issue Date: 3-Aug-2007
Abstract: This thesis is concerned with the study of algorithms for approximately solving large-scale linear and nonsmooth convex minimization problems within a prescribed relative error $\delta$ of the optimum. The methods we propose converge in $O(1/\delta^2)$ or $O(1/\delta)$ iterations of a first-order type. While the theoretical lower iteration bound for approximately solving (in the absolute sense) nonsmooth convex minimization problems in the black-box computational model of complexity is $O(1/\epsilon^2)$, the algorithms developed in this thesis are able to perform better by effectively utilizing the information about the \emph{structure} of the problems. Chapter 1 contains a brief account of the relevant part of complexity theory for convex optimization problems. This is done in order to be able to better communicate the proper setting of our work within the current literature. We finish with concise synopses of the following chapters. In Chapter 2 we study the general problem of unconstrained convex minimization in relative scale. Algorithms of this type are hard to find in the literature and are known perhaps only for a narrow class of specialized transportation problems. It was recently suggested by Nesterov \cite{Nesterov:2003:Unconstr_conv_min_in_rel_scale},\cite{Nesterov:2004:Rounding} that this problem can be efficiently treated via a conic reformulation and by utilizing the information gained from the computation of a pair of John ellipsoids for the subdifferential of the objective function evaluated at the origin. Our main contribution is the improvement of the theoretical performance of the algorithms in the cited papers by incorporating a simple bisection idea. We also show that it is possible to design potentially more practical ``nonrestarting" versions of these methods at no or only negligible cost in their theoretical guarantees. In Chapter 3 we consider the geometric problem of finding the intersection of a line and a centrally symmetric convex body $Q$ given as the convex hull of a collection of points. Our algorithms produce a sequence of ellipsoids inscribed in $Q$, ``converging" towards the intersection points. It turns out that in doing so we simultaneously solve a number of closely related problems such as the problem of finding the minimum $\ell_1$ norm solution of a full rank underdetermined linear system, minimizing the maximum of absolute values of linear functions, or linear optimization over the polytope polar to $Q$. We finish the discussion by describing applications to truss topology design and optimal design of statistical experiments.
Description: A dissertation written under the guidance of Michael J. Todd
Appears in Collections:Cornell Theses and Dissertations

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