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# Equality and Inequality Constraints

How do we handle both equality and inequality constraints in (P)? Let (P) be:

Maximize f(x)

Subject to

If you have a program with constraints, convert it into by multiplying by -1. Also convert a minimization to a maximization.

The Lagrangian is

The fundamental result is the following:

In this course, we will not concern ourselves with Case (i). We will only look for candidate solutions for which we can find and satisfying the equations in Case (ii) above.

In general, to solve these equations, you begin with complementarity and note that either must be zero or . Based on the various possibilities, you come up with one or more candidate solutions. If there is an optimal solution, then one of your candidates will be it.

The above conditions are called the Kuhn-Tucker (or Karush-Kuhn-Tucker) conditions. Why do they make sense?

For optimal, some of the inequalities will be tight and some not. Those not tight can be ignored (and will have corresponding price ). Those that are tight can be treated as equalities which leads to the previous Lagrangian stuff. So

forces either the price to be 0 or the constraint to be tight.

Economic Interpretation

The economic interpretation is essentially the same as the equality case. If the right hand side of a constraint is changed by a small amount , then the optimal objective changes by , where is the optimal Lagrange multiplier corresponding to that constraint. Note that if the constraint is not tight then the objective does not change (since then ).

Handling Nonnegativity

A special type of constraint is nonnegativity. If you have a constraint , you can write this as and use the above result. This constraint would get a Lagrange multiplier of its own, and would be treated just like every other constraint.

An alternative is to treat nonnegativity implicitly. If must be nonnegative:

1. Change the equality associated with its partial to a less than or equal to zero:

2. Add a new complementarity constraint:

3. Don't forget that for x to be feasible.

Sufficiency of conditions

The Karush-Kuhn-Tucker conditions give us candidate optimal solutions . When are these conditions sufficient for optimality? That is, given with and satisfying the KKT conditions, when can we be certain that it is an optimal solution?

The most general condition available is:

1. f(x) is concave, and
2. the feasible region forms a convex region.

While it is straightforward to determine if the objective is concave by computing its Hessian matrix, it is not so easy to tell if the feasible region is convex. A useful condition is as follows:

The feasible region is convex if all of the are linear and all of the are convex.

If this condition is satisfied, then any point that satisfies the KKT conditions gives a point that maximizes f(x) subject to the constraints.

Review of Optimality Conditions.

The following reviews what we have learned so far:

Single Variable (Unconstrained)

Solve f'(x) = 0 to get candidate .

If then is a local min.

then is a local max.

If f(x) is convex then a local min is a global min.

f(x) is concave then a local max is a global max.

Multiple Variable (Unconstrained)

Solve to get candidate .

If is positive definite then is a local min.

is negative definite is a local max.

If f(x) is convex then a local min is a global min.

f(x) is concave then a local max is a global max.

Multiple Variable (Equality constrained) Form Lagrangian

Solve to get candidate (and ).

Best is optimum if optimum exists.

Multiple Variable (Equality and Inequality constrained)

Put into standard form (maximize and constraints)

Form Lagrangian

Solve

to get candidates (and , ).

Best is optimum if optimum exists.

Any is optimum if f(x) concave, convex, linear.

Next: Exercises Up: Constrained Optimization Previous: Economic Interpretation

Michael A. Trick
Mon Aug 24 16:30:59 EDT 1998