MathGroup Archive 2005

[Date Index] [Thread Index] [Author Index]

Search the Archive

Re: Re: Numerical Optimization involving equation solving

  • To: mathgroup at
  • Subject: [mg56061] Re: [mg56005] Re: [mg55969] Numerical Optimization involving equation solving
  • From: DrBob <drbob at>
  • Date: Thu, 14 Apr 2005 08:56:04 -0400 (EDT)
  • References: <> <>
  • Reply-to: drbob at
  • Sender: owner-wri-mathgroup at

By the way, (stuff;Return[ans];) should be simply (stuff;ans)

Usually there are local variables (needed only within the function), so you'd have Block[{locals},stuff;ans] or the same using With or Module in place of Block. Blocking the local/temporary variables helps prevent "side-effects" of a function execution.

There's no need for Return, Break, Continue, Goto, or Label unless you have a "spagetti-code" addiction you're unwilling to break. The sooner you abandon it, the more you'll get out of Mathematica's functional paradigm.


On Wed, 13 Apr 2005 01:10:42 -0400 (EDT), Chris Chiasson <chris.chiasson at> wrote:

> try changing the "definition of the f function" so that it "only
> accepts numerical arguments".
> f[x_?NumericQ]:=(stuff;Return[ans];)
> On Apr 12, 2005 5:26 AM, Brian Rogers <brifry at> wrote:
>> I need to optimize a function of one variable, say
>> f[x_]:=(stuff;Return[ans];).  Computing the value of f requires solving
>> a (non-linear) system of equations that depend on x, and using this
>> solution to compute some other things.
>> Now, evaluating f at a numerical value of x works just fine, and I can
>> even plot f (using Plot[f[x],{x,0,1}]) and eyeball the optimum.  By the
>> way, f is a very well behaved function--it is typically smooth and
>> globally convex.  However, what I really want to do is use FindMinimum
>> (or NMinimize) to numerically return the optimum.  When I use either of
>> these built-in functions, they crash.  I believe that they are first
>> trying to evaluate f[x] symbolically--which would understandably cause
>> it to crash because the system of equations doesn't have a closed form
>> solution in x.
>> I've tried using the "Compiled" option with no luck.  How can I force
>> FindMinimum to use a purely numerical procedure to optimize my
>> function?
>> Any help is greatly appreciated, and please copy any reply to
>> brifry at
>> Thanks!

DrBob at

  • Prev by Date: Re: Infinite sum of gaussians
  • Next by Date: Re: confusion about Thread[]
  • Previous by thread: Re: Numerical Optimization involving equation solving
  • Next by thread: Re: Numerical Optimization involving equation solving