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Title: Continuous steepest descent path for traversing non-convex regions
Author: Beddiaf, Salah
ISNI:       0000 0004 5917 8743
Awarding Body: University of Hertfordshire
Current Institution: University of Hertfordshire
Date of Award: 2016
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In this thesis, we investigate methods of finding a local minimum for unconstrained problems of non-convex functions with n variables, by following the solution curve of a system of ordinary differential equations. The motivation for this was the fact that existing methods (e.g. those based on Newton methods with line search) sometimes terminate at a non-stationary point when applied to functions f(x) that do not a have positive-definite Hessian (i.e. ∇²f → 0) for all x. Even when methods terminate at a stationary point it could be a saddle or maximum rather than a minimum. The only method which makes intuitive sense in non-convex region is the trust region approach where we seek a step which minimises a quadratic model subject to a restriction on the two-norm of the step size. This gives a well-defined search direction but at the expense of a costly evaluation. The algorithms derived in this thesis are gradient based methods which require systems of equations to be solved at each step but which do not use a line search in the usual sense. Progress along the Continuous Steepest Descent Path (CSDP) is governed both by the decrease in the function value and measures of accuracy of a local quadratic model. Numerical results on specially constructed test problems and a number of standard test problems from CUTEr [38] show that the approaches we have considered are more promising when compared with routines in the optimization tool box of MATLAB [46], namely the trust region method and the quasi-Newton method. In particular, they perform well in comparison with the, superficially similar, gradient-flow method proposed by Behrman [7].
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: non-convex optimisations ; unconstrained minimisations ; gradient flow methods ; trust region methods ; curvilinear search methods ; continuous steepest descent paths ; descent methods