Quasi Branch and Bound for Smooth Global Optimization

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Abstract

Quasi branch and bound is a recently introduced generalization of branch and bound, where lower bounds are replaced by a relaxed notion of quasi-lower bounds, required to be lower bounds only for sub-cubes containing a minimizer. This paper is devoted to studying the possible benefits of this approach, for the problem of minimizing a smooth function over a cube. This is accomplished by suggesting two quasi branch and bound algorithms, qBnB(2) and qBnB(3), that compare favorably with alternative branch and bound algorithms. The first algorithm we propose, qBnB(2), achieves second order convergence based only on a bound on second derivatives, without requiring calculation of derivatives. As such, this algorithm is suitable for derivative free optimization, for which typical algorithms such as Lipschitz optimization only have first order convergence and so suffer from limited accuracy due to the clustering problem. Additionally, qBnB(2) is provably more efficient than the second order Lipschitz gradient algorithm which does require exact calculation of gradients. The second algorithm we propose, qBnB(3), has third order convergence and finite termination. In contrast with BnB algorithms with similar guarantees who typically compute lower bounds via solving relatively time consuming convex optimization problems, calculation of qBnB(3) bounds only requires solving a small number of Newton iterations. Our experiments verify the potential of both these methods in comparison with state of the art branch and bound algorithms.

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