(DSC 388J)

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This class covers linear programming and convex optimization. These are fundamental conceptual and algorithmic building blocks for applications across science and engineering. Indeed any time a problem can be cast as one of maximizing / minimizing and objective subject to constraints, the next step is to use a method from linear or convex optimization. Covered topics include formulation and geometry of LPs, duality and min-max, primal and dual algorithms for solving LPs, Second-order cone programming (SOCP) and semidefinite programming (SDP), unconstrained convex optimization and its algorithms: gradient descent and the newton method, constrained convex optimization, duality, variants of gradient descent (stochastic, subgradient etc.) and their rates of convergence, momentum methods.


  • Convex sets, convex functions, Convex Programs (1 week)
  • Linear Programs (LPs), Geometry of LPs, Duality in LPs (1 week)
  • Weak duality, Strong duality, Complementary slackness (1 week)
  • LP duality: Robust Linear Programming, Two person 0-sum games, Max-flow min-cut (1 week)
  • Semidefinite programming, Duality in convex programs, Strong duality (1 week)
  • Duality and Sensitivity, KKT Conditions, Convex Duality Examples: Maximum Entropy (1 week)
  • Convex Duality: SVMs and the Kernel Trick, Convex conjugates, Gradient descent (1 week)
  • Line search, Gradient Descent: Convergence rate and step size, Gradient descent and strong convexity (1 week)
  • Frank Wolfe method, Coordinate descent, Subgradients (1 week)
  • Subgradient descent, Proximal gradient descent, Newton method (1 week)
  • Newton method convergence, Quasi-newton methods, Barrier method (1 week)
  • Accelerated Gradient descent, Stochastic gradient descent (SGD), Mini-batch SGD, Variance reduction in SGD (1 week)

Course Availability

  • Spring 2023

Meet Your Instructors

Sujay Sanghavi

Associate Professor

Constantine Caramanis


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