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Re: Gradient Option in FindMinimum

  • To: mathgroup at
  • Subject: [mg13265] Re: Gradient Option in FindMinimum
  • From: Robert Knapp <rknapp>
  • Date: Fri, 17 Jul 1998 03:17:56 -0400
  • Organization: Wolfram Research, Inc.
  • References: <6od3be$>
  • Sender: owner-wri-mathgroup at

Chris Farr wrote:
> Math Group:
> Is the following a bug?
> First, I set nameofgrad equal to 2*x.
> In[32]:= nameofgrad = {2*x}
> Out[32]= {2 x}
> Second, I show that if {2*x} is put directly into the FindMin. =
> expression everything works okay.
> In[33]:= FindMinimum[x^2,{x,1.},Gradient->{2* x}] Out[33]= { 0.,{x
> -> 0.} }
> Third, here is the bug (I think), when I put nameofgrad into the =
> FindMin. expression (which is just equal to {2*x}), I get an error =
> message!
> In[34]:= FindMinimum[x^2,{x,1.},Gradient->nameofgrad]
> FindMimimum::fmgl : Gradient {{2.}} is not a length 1 list of real =
> numbers at {x} = {1.}
> Can anyone duplicate this on their machine?  Any ideas?

This is quite reproducible since it is caused by the evaluation
semantics of FindMinimum, in particular that it has the HoldAll
attribute.  Thus, the arguments are passed to the function unevaluated,
so FindMinimum sees the gradient as just the symbol nameofgrad which is
noty a list.  Since it needs the gradient to be a list, it warps a list
around that, leading to your eventual problem.

This can easily be remedied by simply using


which forces the third argument to be evaluated.

Rob Knapp

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