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Computing proximal points of nonconvex functions. (English) Zbl 1168.90010
From authors’ abstract: The proximal point mapping is the basis of many optimization techniques for convex functions. By means of variational analysis, the concept of proximal mappings was recently extended to nonconvex functions that are prox-regular and prox-bounded. In such a setting, the proximal point mapping is locally Lipschitz continuous and its set of fixed points coincide with the critical points of the original function. This suggests that the many uses of proximal points, and their corresponding proximal envelopes (Moreau envelopes), will have a natural extension from convex optimization to nonconvex optimization. For example, the inexact proximal point methods for convex optimization might be redesigned to work for nonconvex functions. In order to begin the practical implementation of proximal points in a nonconvex setting, a first crucial step would be to design efficient methods of approximating nonconvex proximal points. This would provide a solid foundation on which future design and analysis for nonconvex proximal point methods could flourish. In this paper we present a methodology based on the computation of proximal points of piecewise affine models of the nonconvex function. These models can be built with only the knowledge obtained from a black box providing, for each point, the function value and one subgradient. Convergence of the method is proved for the class of nonconvex functions that are prox-bounded and lower-$C^2$ and encouraging preliminary numerical testing is reported.

90C26Nonconvex programming, global optimization
49J52Nonsmooth analysis (other weak concepts of optimality)
65K10Optimization techniques (numerical methods)
49J53Set-valued and variational analysis
49M05Numerical methods in calculus of variations based on necessary conditions
Full Text: DOI
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