This book is about convex optimization, a special class of mathematical optimization problems, which includes least-squares and linear programming problems.

engineering

Description

Preface

This book is about convex optimization, a special class of mathematical optimization problems, which includes least-squares and linear programming problems. It is well known that least-squares and linear programming problems have a fairly complete theory, arise in a variety of applications, and can be solved numerically very efficiently. The basic point of this book is that the same can be said for the larger class of convex optimization problems. While the mathematics of convex optimization has been studied for about a century, several related recent developments have stimulated new interest in the topic. The first is the recognition that interior-point methods, developed in the 1980s to solve linear programming problems, can be used to solve convex optimization problems as well. These new methods allow us to solve certain new classes of convex optimization problems, such as semidefinite programs and second-order cone programs, almost as easily as linear programs. The second development is the discovery that convex optimization problems (beyond least-squares and linear programs) are more prevalent in practice than was previously thought. Since 1990 many applications have been discovered in areas such as automatic control systems, estimation and signal processing, communications and networks, electronic circuit design, data analysis and modeling, statistics, and finance. Convex optimization has also found wide application in combinatorial optimization and global optimization, where it is used to find bounds on the optimal value, as well as approximate solutions. We believe that many other applications of convex optimization are still waiting to be discovered. There are great advantages to recognizing or formulating a problem as a convex optimization problem. The most basic advantage is that the problem can then be solved, very reliably and efficiently, using interior-point methods or other special methods for convex optimization. These solution methods are reliable enough to be embedded in a computer-aided design or analysis tool, or even a real-time reactive or automatic control system. There are also theoretical or conceptual advantages of formulating a problem as a convex optimization problem. The associated dual problem, for example, often has an interesting interpretation in terms of the original problem, and sometimes leads to an efficient or distributed method for solving it. We think that convex optimization is an important enough topic that everyone who uses computational mathematics should know at least a little bit about it. In our opinion, convex optimization is a natural next topic after advanced linear algebra (topics like least-squares, singular values), and linear programming.