Journal of Global Optimization

, Volume 59, Issue 1, pp 59–80 | Cite as

Path-following gradient-based decomposition algorithms for separable convex optimization

  • Quoc Tran Dinh
  • Ion Necoara
  • Moritz Diehl


A new decomposition optimization algorithm, called path-following gradient-based decomposition, is proposed to solve separable convex optimization problems. Unlike path-following Newton methods considered in the literature, this algorithm does not require any smoothness assumption on the objective function. This allows us to handle more general classes of problems arising in many real applications than in the path-following Newton methods. The new algorithm is a combination of three techniques, namely smoothing, Lagrangian decomposition and path-following gradient framework. The algorithm decomposes the original problem into smaller subproblems by using dual decomposition and smoothing via self-concordant barriers, updates the dual variables using a path-following gradient method and allows one to solve the subproblems in parallel. Moreover, compared to augmented Lagrangian approaches, our algorithmic parameters are updated automatically without any tuning strategy. We prove the global convergence of the new algorithm and analyze its convergence rate. Then, we modify the proposed algorithm by applying Nesterov’s accelerating scheme to get a new variant which has a better convergence rate than the first algorithm. Finally, we present preliminary numerical tests that confirm the theoretical development.


Path-following gradient method Dual fast gradient algorithm  Separable convex optimization Smoothing technique Self-concordant barrier  Parallel implementation 



We thank the editor and two anonymous reviewers for their comments and suggestions to improve the presentation of the paper. This research was supported by Research Council KUL: PFV/10/002 Optimization in Engineering Center OPTEC, GOA/10/09 MaNet and GOA/10/11 Global real-time optimal control of autonomous robots and mechatronic systems. Flemish Government: IOF/KP/SCORES4CHEM, FWO: PhD/postdoc grants and projects: G.0320.08 (convex MPC), G.0377.09 (Mechatronics MPC); IWT: PhD Grants, projects: SBO LeCoPro; Belgian Federal Science Policy Office: IUAP P7 (DYSCO, Dynamical systems, control and optimization, 2012–2017); EU: FP7-EMBOCON (ICT-248940), FP7-SADCO (MC ITN-264735), ERC ST HIGHWIND (259 166), Eurostars SMART, ACCM; the European Union, Seventh Framework Programme (FP7/2007–2013), EMBOCON, under grant agreement no 248940; CNCS-UEFISCDI (project TE, no. 19/11.08.2010); ANCS (project PN II, no. 80EU/2010); Sectoral Operational Programme Human Resources Development 2007–2013 of the Romanian Ministry of Labor, Family and Social Protection through the Financial Agreements POSDRU/89/1.5/S/62557.


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© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Optimization in Engineering Center (OPTEC) and Department of Electrical EngineeringKatholieke Universiteit LeuvenLeuvenBelgium
  2. 2.Laboratory for Information and Inference Systems (LIONS)EPFLLausanneSwitzerland
  3. 3.Automatic Control and Systems Engineering DepartmentUniversity Politehnica BucharestBucharestRomania
  4. 4.Department of Mathematics–Mechanics–InformaticsVietnam National UniversityHanoiVietnam

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