Basic usage

In this tutorial we introduce the basics of Optimization.jl by showing how to easily mix local optimizers from Optim.jl and global optimizers from BlackBoxOptim.jl on the Rosenbrock equation. The simplest copy-pasteable code to get started is the following:

# Import the package and define the problem to optimize
using Optimization
rosenbrock(u,p) =  (u[1] - u[1])^2 + p[2] * (u[2] - u[1]^2)^2
u0 = zeros(2)
p  = [1.0,100.0]

prob = OptimizationProblem(rosenbrock,u0,p)

# Import a solver package and solve the optimization problem
using OptimizationOptimJL
sol = solve(prob,NelderMead())

# Import a different solver package and solve the optimization problem a different way
using OptimizationBBO
prob = OptimizationProblem(rosenbrock, u0, p, lb = [-1.0,-1.0], ub = [1.0,1.0])
sol = solve(prob,BBO_adaptive_de_rand_1_bin_radiuslimited())

Notice that Optimization.jl is the core glue package that holds all of the common pieces, but to solve the equations we need to use a solver package. Here, OptimizationOptimJL is for Optim.jl and OptimizationBBO is for BlackBoxOptim.jl.

The output of the first optimization task (with the NelderMead() algorithm) is given below:

sol = solve(prob,NelderMead())

The solution from the original solver can always be obtained via original:


Controlling Gradient Calculations (Automatic Differentiation)

Notice that both of the above methods were derivative-free methods, and thus no gradients were required to do the optimization. However, in many cases first order optimization (i.e. using gradients) is much more efficient. Defining gradients can be done in two ways. One way is to manually provide a gradient definition in the OptimizationFunction constructor. However, the more convenient way to obtain gradients is to provide an AD backend type.

For example, let's now use the OptimizationOptimJL BFGS method to solve the same problem. We will import the forward-mode automatic differentiation library (using ForwardDiff) and then specify in the OptimizationFunction to automatically construct the derivative functions using ForwardDiff.jl. This looks like:

using ForwardDiff
optf = OptimizationFunction(rosenbrock, Optimization.AutoForwardDiff())
prob = OptimizationProblem(optf, u0, p)
sol = solve(prob,BFGS())

We can inspect the original to see the statistics on the number of steps required and gradients computed:


Sure enough, it's a lot less than the derivative-free methods!

However, the compute cost of forward-mode automatic differentiation scales via the number of inputs, and thus as our optimization problem grows large it slow down. To counteract this, for larger optimization problems (>100 state variables) one normally would want to use reverse-mode automatic differentiation. One common choice for reverse-mode automatic differentiation is Zygote.jl. We can demonstrate this via:

using Zygote
optf = OptimizationFunction(rosenbrock, Optimization.AutoZygote())
prob = OptimizationProblem(optf, u0, p)
sol = solve(prob,BFGS())

Setting Box Constraints

In many cases one knows the potential bounds on the solution values. In Optimization.jl, these can be supplied as the lb and ub arguments for the lower bounds and upper bounds respectively, supplying a vector of values with one per state variable. Let's now do our gradient-based optimization with box constraints by rebuilding the OptimizationProblem:

prob = OptimizationProblem(optf, u0, p, lb = [-1.0,-1.0], ub = [1.0,1.0])
sol = solve(prob,BFGS())

For more information on handling constraints, in particular equality and inequality constraints, take a look at the constraints tutorial.