Package org.apache.commons.math.optimization

This package provides common interfaces for the optimization algorithms provided in sub-packages. The main interfaces defines optimizers and convergence checkers. The functions that are optimized by the algorithms provided by this package and its sub-packages are a subset of the one defined in the analysis package, namely the real and vector valued functions. These functions are called objective function here. When the goal is to minimize, the functions are often called cost function, this name is not used in this package.

Optimizers are the algorithms that will either minimize or maximize, the objective function by changing its input variables set until an optimal set is found. There are only four interfaces defining the common behavior of optimizers, one for each supported type of objective function:

Despite there are only four types of supported optimizers, it is possible to optimize a transform a non-differentiable multivariate vectorial function by converting it to a non-differentiable multivariate real function thanks to the LeastSquaresConverter helper class. The transformed function can be optimized using any implementation of the MultivariateRealOptimizer interface.

For each of the four types of supported optimizers, there is a special implementation which wraps a classical optimizer in order to add it a multi-start feature. This feature call the underlying optimizer several times in sequence with different starting points and returns the best optimum found or all optima if desired. This is a classical way to prevent being trapped into a local extremum when looking for a global one.