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Publication# Distributionally Robust Optimization with Markovian Data

Abstract

We study a stochastic program where the probability distribution of the uncertain problem parameters is unknown and only indirectly observed via finitely many correlated samples generated by an unknown Markov chain with d states. We propose a data-driven distributionally robust optimization model to estimate the problem’s objective function and optimal solution. By leveraging results from large deviations theory, we derive statistical guarantees on the quality of these estimators. The underlying worst-case expectation problem is nonconvex and involves O(d^2) decision variables. Thus, it cannot be solved efficiently for large d. By exploiting the structure of this prob- lem, we devise a customized Frank-Wolfe algorithm with convex direction-finding subproblems of size O(d). We prove that this algorithm finds a stationary point efficiently under mild conditions. The efficiency of the method is predicated on a dimensionality reduction enabled by a dual reformulation. Numerical experiments indicate that our approach has better computational and statistical properties than the state-of-the-art methods.

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Stochastic programming

In the field of mathematical optimization, stochastic programming is a framework for modeling optimization problems that involve uncertainty. A stochastic program is an optimization problem in which some or all problem parameters are uncertain, but follow known probability distributions. This framework contrasts with deterministic optimization, in which all problem parameters are assumed to be known exactly. The goal of stochastic programming is to find a decision which both optimizes some criteria chosen by the decision maker, and appropriately accounts for the uncertainty of the problem parameters.

Robust optimization

Robust optimization is a field of mathematical optimization theory that deals with optimization problems in which a certain measure of robustness is sought against uncertainty that can be represented as deterministic variability in the value of the parameters of the problem itself and/or its solution. It is related to, but often distinguished from, probabilistic optimization methods such as chance-constrained optimization.

Stationary point

In mathematics, particularly in calculus, a stationary point of a differentiable function of one variable is a point on the graph of the function where the function's derivative is zero. Informally, it is a point where the function "stops" increasing or decreasing (hence the name). For a differentiable function of several real variables, a stationary point is a point on the surface of the graph where all its partial derivatives are zero (equivalently, the gradient is zero).

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Introduction to linear optimization, duality and the simplex algorithm.

Introduction to linear optimization, duality and the simplex algorithm.

Introduction to network optimization and discrete optimization

Daniel Kuhn, Wolfram Wiesemann

Linear stochastic programming provides a flexible toolbox for analyzing real-life decision situations, but it can become computationally cumbersome when recourse decisions are involved. The latter are

2011