This example shows how to solve a constrained nonlinear problem using an Optimization Toolbox™ solver. The example demonstrates the typical workflow: create an objective function, create constraints, solve the problem, and examine the results.
This example provides two approaches to solving the problem. One uses the Optimize Live Editor task, a visual approach. The other uses the MATLAB® command line, a text-based approach. You can also solve this type of problem using the problem-based approach; see Solve a Constrained Nonlinear Problem, Problem-Based.
The problem is to minimize Rosenbrock's function
over the unit disk, that is, the disk of radius 1 centered at the origin. In other words, find x that minimizes the function f(x) over the set . This problem is a minimization of a nonlinear function with a nonlinear constraint.
Rosenbrock's function is a standard test function in optimization. It has a
unique minimum value of 0 attained at the point
Finding the minimum is a challenge for some algorithms because the function has
a shallow minimum inside a deeply curved valley. The solution for this problem
is not at the point
[1,1] because that point does not satisfy
This figure shows two views of Rosenbrock's function in the unit disk. The vertical axis is log-scaled; in other words, the plot shows log(1+f(x)). Contour lines lie beneath the surface plot.
Rosenbrock's Function, Log-Scaled: Two Views
The function f(x) is called the objective function. The objective function is the function you want to minimize. The inequality is called a constraint. Constraints limit the set of x over which a solver searches for a minimum. You can have any number of constraints, which are inequalities or equalities.
All Optimization Toolbox optimization functions minimize an objective function. To maximize a function f, apply an optimization routine to minimize –f. For more details about maximizing, see Maximizing an Objective.
The Optimize Live Editor task lets you set up and solve the problem using a visual approach.
Create a new live script by clicking the New Live Script button on the File section of the Home tab.
Insert an Optimize Live Editor task. Click the Insert tab and then, in the Code section, select Task > Optimize.
In the Specify problem type section of the task,
select Objective > Nonlinear and Constraints
> Nonlinear. The task selects the solver
- Constrained nonlinear minimization.
Include Rosenbrock's function as the objective function. In the Select problem data section of the task, select Objective function > Local function and then click the New... button. A new local function appears in a section below the task.
function f = objectiveFcn(optimInput) % Example: % Minimize Rosenbrock's function % f = 100*(y - x^2)^2 + (1 - x)^2 % Edit the lines below with your calculation x = optimInput(1); y = optimInput(2); f = 100*(y - x^2)^2 + (1 - x)^2; end
This function implements Rosenbrock's function.
In the Select problem data section of the task, select Objective function > objectiveFcn.
Place the initial point
x0 = [0;0] into the MATLAB workspace. Insert a new section above the
Optimize task by clicking the task,
then clicking the Section Break button on the
Insert tab. In the new section above the task,
enter the following code for the initial point.
x0 = [0;0];
Run the section by pressing Ctrl+Enter. This action
x0 into the workspace.
In the Select problem data section of the task, select Initial point (x0) > x0.
In the Select problem data section, select Constraints > Nonlinear > Local function and then click the New... button. A new local function appears below the previous local function.
Edit the new local function as follows.
function [c,ceq] = unitdisk(x) c = x(1)^2 + x(2)^2 - 1; ceq = [ ]; end
In the Select problem data section, select
unitdisk as the constraint function.
To monitor the solver progress, in the Display progress section of the task, select Text display > Each iteration. Also, select Objective value and feasibility for the plot.
To run the solver, click the options button ⁝ at the top right of the task window, and select Run Section. The plot appears in a separate figure window and in the output area.
The output area shows a table of iterations, discussed in Interpret Result.
To find the solution, look at the top of the task.
The solver places the variables
objectiveValue in the workspace. View their values by
inserting a new section break below the task and entering these
Run the section by pressing Ctrl+Enter.
To understand the
fmincon process for obtaining the
result, see Interpret Result.
To display the code that Optimize generates to solve the problem, click the options button ⁝ at the top right of the task window, and select Controls and Code.
At the bottom of the task, the following code appears.
% Set nondefault solver options options = optimoptions('fmincon','Display','iter','PlotFcn',... 'optimplotfvalconstr'); % Solve [solution,objectiveValue] = fmincon(@objectiveFcn,x0,,,,,,,... @unitdisk,options);
This code is the code you use to solve the problem at the command line, as described next.
The first step in solving an optimization problem at the command line is to choose
a solver. Consult the Optimization Decision Table. For a problem with a nonlinear objective
function and a nonlinear constraint, generally you use the
fmincon function reference page. The
solver syntax is as follows.
[x,fval] = fmincon(fun,x0,A,b,Aeq,beq,lb,ub,nonlcon,options)
nonlcon inputs represent the
objective function and nonlinear constraint functions, respectively.
Express your problem as follows:
Define the objective function in the MATLAB language, as a function file or anonymous function. This example uses a function file.
Define the constraints as a separate file or anonymous function.
A function file is a text file that contains MATLAB commands and has the extension
.m. Create a
function file in any text editor, or use the built-in MATLAB Editor as in this example.
At the command line, enter:
In the MATLAB Editor, enter:
%% ROSENBROCK(x) expects a two-column matrix and returns a column vector % The output is the Rosenbrock function, which has a minimum at % (1,1) of value 0, and is strictly positive everywhere else. function f = rosenbrock(x) f = 100*(x(:,2) - x(:,1).^2).^2 + (1 - x(:,1)).^2;
rosenbrock is a vectorized function that can
compute values for several points at once. See Vectorization. A vectorized function is best
for plotting. For a nonvectorized version, enter:
%% ROSENBROCK1(x) expects a two-element vector and returns a scalar % The output is the Rosenbrock function, which has a minimum at % (1,1) of value 0, and is strictly positive everywhere else. function f = rosenbrock1(x) f = 100*(x(2) - x(1)^2)^2 + (1 - x(1))^2;
Save the file with the name
Constraint functions have the form c(x) ≤ 0 or ceq(x) = 0. The constraint is not in the form that the solver handles. To have the correct syntax, reformulate the constraint as .
The syntax for nonlinear constraints returns both equality and inequality
constraints. This example includes only an inequality constraint, so you must pass
an empty array
 as the equality constraint function
With these considerations in mind, write a function file for the nonlinear constraint.
Create a file named
unitdisk.m containing the following
function [c,ceq] = unitdisk(x) c = x(1)^2 + x(2)^2 - 1; ceq = [ ];
Save the file
Now that you have defined the objective and constraint functions, create the other
Create options for
fmincon to use the
'optimplotfvalconstr' plot function and to return
options = optimoptions('fmincon',... 'PlotFcn','optimplotfvalconstr',... 'Display','iter');
Create the initial point.
x0 = [0 0];
Create empty entries for the constraints that this example does not use.
A = ; b = ; Aeq = ; beq = ; lb = ; ub = ;
Solve the problem by calling
[x,fval] = fmincon(fun,x0,A,b,Aeq,beq,lb,ub,nonlcon,options)
First-order Norm of Iter F-count f(x) Feasibility optimality step 0 3 1.000000e+00 0.000e+00 2.000e+00 1 13 7.753537e-01 0.000e+00 6.250e+00 1.768e-01 2 18 6.519648e-01 0.000e+00 9.048e+00 1.679e-01 3 21 5.543209e-01 0.000e+00 8.033e+00 1.203e-01 4 24 2.985207e-01 0.000e+00 1.790e+00 9.328e-02 5 27 2.653799e-01 0.000e+00 2.788e+00 5.723e-02 6 30 1.897216e-01 0.000e+00 2.311e+00 1.147e-01 7 33 1.513701e-01 0.000e+00 9.706e-01 5.764e-02 8 36 1.153330e-01 0.000e+00 1.127e+00 8.169e-02 9 39 1.198058e-01 0.000e+00 1.000e-01 1.522e-02 10 42 8.910052e-02 0.000e+00 8.378e-01 8.301e-02 11 45 6.771960e-02 0.000e+00 1.365e+00 7.149e-02 12 48 6.437664e-02 0.000e+00 1.146e-01 5.701e-03 13 51 6.329037e-02 0.000e+00 1.883e-02 3.774e-03 14 54 5.161934e-02 0.000e+00 3.016e-01 4.464e-02 15 57 4.964194e-02 0.000e+00 7.913e-02 7.894e-03 16 60 4.955404e-02 0.000e+00 5.462e-03 4.185e-04 17 63 4.954839e-02 0.000e+00 3.993e-03 2.208e-05 18 66 4.658289e-02 0.000e+00 1.318e-02 1.255e-02 19 69 4.647011e-02 0.000e+00 8.006e-04 4.940e-04 20 72 4.569141e-02 0.000e+00 3.136e-03 3.379e-03 21 75 4.568281e-02 0.000e+00 6.440e-05 3.974e-05 22 78 4.568281e-02 0.000e+00 8.000e-06 1.084e-07 23 81 4.567641e-02 0.000e+00 1.601e-06 2.793e-05 24 84 4.567482e-02 0.000e+00 2.023e-08 6.916e-06 Local minimum found that satisfies the constraints. Optimization completed because the objective function is non-decreasing in feasible directions, to within the value of the optimality tolerance, and constraints are satisfied to within the value of the constraint tolerance. x = 0.7864 0.6177 fval = 0.0457
The exit message tells you that the search for a constrained optimum ended because the derivative of the objective function is nearly 0 in directions allowed by the constraint, and that the constraint is satisfied to the required accuracy. Several phrases in the message contain links to more information about the terms used in the message. For more details about these links, see Enhanced Exit Messages.
The iteration table in both the Live Editor task output area and the MATLAB Command Window shows how MATLAB searched for the minimum value of Rosenbrock's function in the unit disk. Your table can differ, depending on toolbox version and computing platform. The following description applies to the table shown in this example.
The first column, labeled
Iter, is the iteration number
from 0 to 24.
fmincon took 24 iterations to
The second column, labeled
F-count, reports the
cumulative number of times Rosenbrock's function was evaluated. The final
row shows an
F-count of 84, indicating that
fmincon evaluated Rosenbrock's function 84 times in
the process of finding a minimum.
The third column, labeled
f(x), displays the value of
the objective function. The final value,
the minimum reported in the Optimize run,
and at the end of the exit message in the Command Window.
The fourth column,
Feasibility, is 0 for all
iterations. This column shows the value of the constraint function
unitdisk at each iteration where the constraint is
positive. Because the value of
unitdisk was negative in
all iterations, every iteration satisfied the constraint.
The other columns of the iteration table are described in Iterative Display.