UBC Theses and Dissertations

UBC Theses Logo

UBC Theses and Dissertations

A derivative-free approximate gradient sampling algorithm for finite minimax problems Nutini, Julie Ann


Mathematical optimization is the process of minimizing (or maximizing) a function. An algorithm is used to optimize a function when the minimum cannot be found by hand, or finding the minimum by hand is inefficient. The minimum of a function is a critical point and corresponds to a gradient (derivative) of 0. Thus, optimization algorithms commonly require gradient calculations. When gradient information of the objective function is unavailable, unreliable or ‘expensive’ in terms of computation time, a derivative-free optimization algorithm is ideal. As the name suggests, derivative-free optimization algorithms do not require gradient calculations. In this thesis, we present a derivative-free optimization algorithm for finite minimax problems. Structurally, a finite minimax problem minimizes the maximum taken over a finite set of functions. We focus on the finite minimax problem due to its frequent appearance in real-world applications. We present convergence results for a regular and a robust version of our algorithm, showing in both cases that either the function is unbounded below (the minimum is −∞) or we have found a critical point. Theoretical results are explored for stopping conditions. Additionally, theoretical and numerical results are presented for three examples of approximate gradients that can be used in our algorithm: the simplex gradient, the centered simplex gradient and the Gupal estimate of the gradient of the Steklov averaged function. A performance comparison is made between the regular and robust algorithm, the three approximate gradients, and the regular and robust stopping conditions. Finally, an application in seismic retrofitting is discussed.

Item Media

Item Citations and Data


Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International