Proximal Newton OPTimizer

Systems Optimization Laboratory, Stanford Universiy

PNOPT (pronounced pee-en-opt) is a MATLAB package that uses proximal Newton-type methods to minimize composite functions. For details, please refer to the PNOPT paper.


Unpack the archive and add the yuekai-PNOPT-xxxxxxx directory to your MATLAB search path, e.g.

addpath /home/yuekai/matlab/yuekai-PNOPT-xxxxxxx/

We suggest users also install TFOCS (pronounced tee-fox), a MATLAB package that uses accelerated first-order methods to solve conic programs.


PNOPT has the calling sequence:

[ x, f, output ] = pnopt( smoothF, nonsmoothF, x0, options );

The required input arguments are:

The user can also supply an options structure created using the pnopt_optimset function to customize the behavior of PNOPT. pnopt_optimset shares a similar interface with MATLAB's optimset function:

options = pnopt_optimset( 'param1', val1, 'param2', val2, ... );

Calling pnopt_optimset with no inputs and outputs prints available options.

PNOPT returns:

Creating the smooth and nonsmooth functions

Smooth and nonsmooth functions must satisty these conventions:

PNOPT is compatible with the function generators included with TFOCS that accept vector arguments so users can use these generators to create commonly used smooth and nonsmooth functions. Please refer to section 3 of the TFOCS user guide for details.


n = 100;
p = 200;
X = randn(n,p);
y = sign( X * ( (rand(p,1) > .5) .* randn(p,1) ) + randn(n,1) );

logistic_obj = @(w) LogisticLoss(w,X,y); 
lambda = 10;
l1_pen  = prox_l1(lambda);
w0 = zeros(p,1);
pnopt_options = pnopt_optimset( 'optim', 1e-8 );

[ w, f ] = pnopt( logistic_obj, l1_pen, w0, pnopt_options );

stem( w )
xlim( [ 1; p ] );
                  PNOPT v. 0.9.1 (Dec. 15, 2013)
          Fun.    Prox     Step len.     Obj. val.        Optim. 
    0 |      1       0                  6.9315e+01    4.4998e+00
   10 |     11      49    1.0000e+00    6.7911e+01    1.8744e-03
   13 |     14      66    1.0000e+00    6.7911e+01    2.0037e-04