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### 1.2.1.2 Second-order conditions for optimality

We now derive another necessary condition and also a sufficient condition for optimality, under the stronger hypothesis that is a function (twice continuously differentiable).

First, we assume as before that is a local minimum and derive a necessary condition. For an arbitrary fixed , let us consider a Taylor expansion of again, but this time include second-order terms: (1.12)

where (1.13)

By the first-order necessary condition, must be 0 since it is given by (1.10). We claim that (1.14)

Indeed, suppose that . By (1.13), there exists an such that For these values of , (1.12) reduces to , contradicting that fact that 0 is a minimum of . Therefore, (1.14) must hold.

What does this result imply about the original function ? To see what is in terms of , we need to differentiate the formula (1.9). The reader may find it helpful to first rewrite (1.9) more explicitly as Differentiating both sides with respect to , we have where double subscripts are used to denote second-order partial derivatives. For this gives or, in matrix notation, (1.15)

where is the Hessian matrix of . In view of (1.14), (1.15), and the fact that was arbitrary, we conclude that the matrix must be positive semidefinite: (positive semidefinite)

This is the second-order necessary condition for optimality.

Like the previous first-order necessary condition, this second-order condition only applies to the unconstrained case. But, unlike the first-order condition, it requires to be and not just . Another difference with the first-order condition is that the second-order condition distinguishes minima from maxima: at a local maximum, the Hessian must be negative semidefinite, while the first-order condition applies to any extremum (a minimum or a maximum).

Strengthening the second-order necessary condition and combining it with the first-order necessary condition, we can obtain the following second-order sufficient condition for optimality: If a function satisfies and (positive definite) (1.16)

on an interior point of its domain, then is a strict local minimum of . To see why this is true, take an arbitrary and consider again the second-order expansion (1.12) for . We know that is given by (1.10), thus it is 0 because . Next, is given by (1.15), and so we have (1.17)

The intuition is that since the Hessian is a positive definite matrix, the second-order term dominates the higher-order term . To establish this fact rigorously, note that by the definition of we can pick an small enough so that and for these values of we deduce from (1.17) that To conclude that is a (strict) local minimum, one more technical detail is needed. According to the definition of a local minimum (see page ), we must show that is the lowest value of in some ball around . But the term and hence the value of in the above construction depend on the choice of the direction . It is clear that this dependence is continuous, since all the other terms in (1.17) are continuous in .1.2Also, without loss of generality we can restrict to be of unit length, and then we can take the minimum of over all such . Since the unit sphere in is compact, the minimum is well defined (thanks to the Weierstrass Theorem which is discussed below). This minimal value of provides the radius of the desired ball around in which the lowest value of is achieved at .     Next: 1.2.1.3 Feasible directions, global Up: 1.2.1 Unconstrained optimization Previous: 1.2.1.1 First-order necessary condition   Contents   Index
Daniel 2010-12-20