# Nonlinear Modeling (Legacy)

Warning

This page describes the legacy nonlinear interface to JuMP. It has a number of quirks and limitations that prompted the development of a new nonlinear interface. The new interface is documented at Nonlinear Modeling. This legacy interface will remain for all future v1.X releases of JuMP. The two nonlinear interfaces cannot be combined.

JuMP has support for general smooth nonlinear (convex and nonconvex) optimization problems. JuMP is able to provide exact, sparse second-order derivatives to solvers. This information can improve solver accuracy and performance.

There are three main changes to solve nonlinear programs in JuMP.

Info

There are some restrictions on what syntax you can use in the @NLxxx macros. Make sure to read the Syntax notes.

## Set a nonlinear objective

Use @NLobjective to set a nonlinear objective.

julia> model = Model();

julia> @variable(model, x[1:2]);

julia> @NLobjective(model, Min, exp(x[1]) - sqrt(x[2]))

To modify a nonlinear objective, call @NLobjective again.

Use @NLconstraint to add a nonlinear constraint.

julia> model = Model();

julia> @variable(model, x[1:2]);

julia> @NLconstraint(model, exp(x[1]) <= 1)
exp(x[1]) - 1.0 ≤ 0

julia> @NLconstraint(model, [i = 1:2], x[i]^i >= i)
2-element Vector{NonlinearConstraintRef{ScalarShape}}:
x[1] ^ 1.0 - 1.0 ≥ 0
x[2] ^ 2.0 - 2.0 ≥ 0

julia> @NLconstraint(model, con[i = 1:2], prod(x[j] for j = 1:i) == i)
2-element Vector{NonlinearConstraintRef{ScalarShape}}:
(*)(x[1]) - 1.0 = 0
x[1] * x[2] - 2.0 = 0
Info

You can only create nonlinear constraints with <=, >=, and ==. More general Nonlinear-in-Set constraints are not supported.

Delete a nonlinear constraint using delete:

julia> delete(model, con[1])

## Create a nonlinear expression

Use @NLexpression to create nonlinear expression objects. The syntax is identical to @expression, except that the expression can contain nonlinear terms.

julia> model = Model();

julia> @variable(model, x[1:2]);

julia> expr = @NLexpression(model, exp(x[1]) + sqrt(x[2]))
subexpression[1]: exp(x[1]) + sqrt(x[2])

julia> my_anon_expr = @NLexpression(model, [i = 1:2], sin(x[i]))
2-element Vector{NonlinearExpression}:
subexpression[2]: sin(x[1])
subexpression[3]: sin(x[2])

julia> @NLexpression(model, my_expr[i = 1:2], sin(x[i]))
2-element Vector{NonlinearExpression}:
subexpression[4]: sin(x[1])
subexpression[5]: sin(x[2])

Nonlinear expression can be used in @NLobjective, @NLconstraint, and even nested in other @NLexpressions.

julia> @NLobjective(model, Min, expr^2 + 1)

julia> @NLconstraint(model, [i = 1:2], my_expr[i] <= i)
2-element Vector{NonlinearConstraintRef{ScalarShape}}:
subexpression[4] - 1.0 ≤ 0
subexpression[5] - 2.0 ≤ 0

julia> @NLexpression(model, nested[i = 1:2], sin(my_expr[i]))
2-element Vector{NonlinearExpression}:
subexpression[6]: sin(subexpression[4])
subexpression[7]: sin(subexpression[5])

Use value to query the value of a nonlinear expression:

julia> set_start_value(x[1], 1.0)

julia> value(start_value, nested[1])
0.7456241416655579

julia> sin(sin(1.0))
0.7456241416655579

## Create a nonlinear parameter

For nonlinear models only, JuMP offers a syntax for explicit "parameter" objects, which are constants in the model that can be efficiently updated between solves.

Nonlinear parameters are declared by using the @NLparameter macro and may be indexed by arbitrary sets analogously to JuMP variables and expressions.

The initial value of the parameter must be provided on the right-hand side of the == sign.

julia> model = Model();

julia> @variable(model, x);

julia> @NLparameter(model, p[i = 1:2] == i)
2-element Vector{NonlinearParameter}:
parameter[1] == 1.0
parameter[2] == 2.0

Create anonymous parameters using the value keyword:

julia> anon_parameter = @NLparameter(model, value = 1)
parameter[3] == 1.0
Info

A parameter is not an optimization variable. It must be fixed to a value with ==. If you want a parameter that is <= or >=, create a variable instead using @variable.

Use value and set_value to query or update the value of a parameter.

julia> value.(p)
2-element Vector{Float64}:
1.0
2.0

julia> set_value(p[2], 3.0)
3.0

julia> value.(p)
2-element Vector{Float64}:
1.0
3.0

Nonlinear parameters must be used within nonlinear macros only.

### When to use a parameter

Nonlinear parameters are useful when solving nonlinear models in a sequence:

using JuMP, Ipopt
model = Model(Ipopt.Optimizer)
set_silent(model)
@variable(model, z)
@NLparameter(model, x == 1.0)
@NLobjective(model, Min, (z - x)^2)
optimize!(model)
@show value(z) # Equals 1.0.

# Now, update the value of x to solve a different problem.
set_value(x, 5.0)
optimize!(model)
@show value(z) # Equals 5.0
value(z) = 1.0
value(z) = 5.0
Info

Using nonlinear parameters can be faster than creating a new model from scratch with updated data because JuMP is able to avoid repeating a number of steps in processing the model before handing it off to the solver.

## Syntax notes

The syntax accepted in nonlinear macros is more restricted than the syntax for linear and quadratic macros. We note some important points below.

### Scalar operations only

Except for the splatting syntax discussed below, all expressions must be simple scalar operations. You cannot use dot, matrix-vector products, vector slices, etc.

julia> model = Model();

julia> @variable(model, x[1:2]);

julia> @variable(model, y);

julia> c = [1, 2];

julia> @NLobjective(model, Min, c' * x + 3y)
ERROR: Unexpected array [1 2] in nonlinear expression. Nonlinear expressions may contain only scalar expressions.
[...]

Translate vector operations into explicit sum() operations:

julia> @NLobjective(model, Min, sum(c[i] * x[i] for i = 1:2) + 3y)

Or use an @expression:

julia> @expression(model, expr, c' * x)
x[1] + 2 x[2]

julia> @NLobjective(model, Min, expr + 3y)


### Splatting

The splatting operator ... is recognized in a very restricted setting for expanding function arguments. The expression splatted can be only a symbol. More complex expressions are not recognized.

julia> model = Model();

julia> @variable(model, x[1:3]);

julia> @NLconstraint(model, *(x...) <= 1.0)
x[1] * x[2] * x[3] - 1.0 ≤ 0

julia> @NLconstraint(model, *((x / 2)...) <= 0.0)
ERROR: Unsupported use of the splatting operator. JuMP supports splatting only symbols. For example, x... is ok, but (x + 1)..., [x; y]... and g(f(y)...) are not.

## User-defined Functions

JuMP natively supports the set of univariate and multivariate functions recognized by the MOI.Nonlinear submodule. In addition to this list of functions, it is possible to register custom user-defined nonlinear functions. User-defined functions can be used anywhere in @NLobjective, @NLconstraint, and @NLexpression.

JuMP will attempt to automatically register functions it detects in your nonlinear expressions, which usually means manually registering a function is not needed. Two exceptions are if you want to provide custom derivatives, or if the function is not available in the scope of the nonlinear expression.

Warning

User-defined functions must return a scalar output. For a work-around, see User-defined operators with vector outputs.

### Automatic differentiation

JuMP does not support black-box optimization, so all user-defined functions must provide derivatives in some form. Fortunately, JuMP supports automatic differentiation of user-defined functions, a feature to our knowledge not available in any comparable modeling systems.

Info

Automatic differentiation is not finite differencing. JuMP's automatically computed derivatives are not subject to approximation error.

JuMP uses ForwardDiff.jl to perform automatic differentiation; see the ForwardDiff.jl documentation for a description of how to write a function suitable for automatic differentiation.

#### Common mistakes when writing a user-defined function

Warning

Get an error like No method matching Float64(::ForwardDiff.Dual)? Read this section, and see the guidelines at ForwardDiff.jl.

The most common error is that your user-defined function is not generic with respect to the number type, that is, don't assume that the input to the function is Float64.

f(x::Float64) = 2 * x  # This will not work.
f(x::Real)    = 2 * x  # This is good.
f(x)          = 2 * x  # This is also good.

Another reason you may encounter this error is if you create arrays inside your function which are Float64.

function bad_f(x...)
y = zeros(length(x))  # This constructs an array of Float64!
for i = 1:length(x)
y[i] = x[i]^i
end
return sum(y)
end

function good_f(x::T...) where {T<:Real}
y = zeros(T, length(x))  # Construct an array of type T instead!
for i = 1:length(x)
y[i] = x[i]^i
end
return sum(y)
end

### Register a function

To register a user-defined function with derivatives computed by automatic differentiation, use the register method as in the following example:

square(x) = x^2
f(x, y) = (x - 1)^2 + (y - 2)^2

model = Model()

register(model, :square, 1, square; autodiff = true)
register(model, :my_f, 2, f; autodiff = true)

@variable(model, x[1:2] >= 0.5)
@NLobjective(model, Min, my_f(x[1], square(x[2])))

The above code creates a JuMP model with the objective function (x[1] - 1)^2 + (x[2]^2 - 2)^2. The arguments to register are:

1. The model for which the functions are registered.
2. A Julia symbol object which serves as the name of the user-defined function in JuMP expressions.
3. The number of input arguments that the function takes.
4. The Julia method which computes the function
Tip

The symbol :my_f doesn't have to match the name of the function f. However, it's more readable if it does. Make sure you use my_f and not f in the macros.

Warning

User-defined functions cannot be re-registered and will not update if you modify the underlying Julia function. If you want to change a user-defined function between solves, rebuild the model or use a different name. To use a different name programmatically, see Raw expression input.

### Register a function and gradient

Forward-mode automatic differentiation as implemented by ForwardDiff.jl has a computational cost that scales linearly with the number of input dimensions. As such, it is not the most efficient way to compute gradients of user-defined functions if the number of input arguments is large. In this case, users may want to provide their own routines for evaluating gradients.

#### Univariate functions

For univariate functions, the gradient function ∇f returns a number that represents the first-order derivative:

f(x) = x^2
∇f(x) = 2x
model = Model()
register(model, :my_square, 1, f, ∇f; autodiff = true)
@variable(model, x >= 0)
@NLobjective(model, Min, my_square(x))

If autodiff = true, JuMP will use automatic differentiation to compute the hessian.

#### Multivariate functions

For multivariate functions, the gradient function ∇f must take a gradient vector as the first argument that is filled in-place:

f(x, y) = (x - 1)^2 + (y - 2)^2
function ∇f(g::AbstractVector{T}, x::T, y::T) where {T}
g[1] = 2 * (x - 1)
g[2] = 2 * (y - 2)
return
end

model = Model()
register(model, :my_square, 2, f, ∇f)
@variable(model, x[1:2] >= 0)
@NLobjective(model, Min, my_square(x[1], x[2]))
Warning

Make sure the first argument to ∇f supports an AbstractVector, and do not assume the input is Float64.

### Register a function, gradient, and hessian

You can also register a function with the second-order derivative information, which is a scalar for univariate functions, and a symmetric matrix for multivariate functions.

#### Univariate functions

Pass a function which returns a number representing the second-order derivative:

f(x) = x^2
∇f(x) = 2x
∇²f(x) = 2
model = Model()
register(model, :my_square, 1, f, ∇f, ∇²f)
@variable(model, x >= 0)
@NLobjective(model, Min, my_square(x))

#### Multivariate functions

For multivariate functions, the hessian function ∇²f must take an AbstractMatrix as the first argument, the lower-triangular of which is filled in-place:

f(x...) = (1 - x[1])^2 + 100 * (x[2] - x[1]^2)^2
function ∇f(g, x...)
g[1] = 400 * x[1]^3 - 400 * x[1] * x[2] + 2 * x[1] - 2
g[2] = 200 * (x[2] - x[1]^2)
return
end
function ∇²f(H, x...)
H[1, 1] = 1200 * x[1]^2 - 400 * x[2] + 2
# H[1, 2] = -400 * x[1]  <-- Not needed. Fill the lower-triangular only.
H[2, 1] = -400 * x[1]
H[2, 2] = 200.0
return
end

model = Model()
register(model, :rosenbrock, 2, f, ∇f, ∇²f)
@variable(model, x[1:2])
@NLobjective(model, Min, rosenbrock(x[1], x[2]))
Warning

You may assume the Hessian matrix H is initialized with zeros, and because H is symmetric, you need only to fill in the non-zero of the lower-triangular terms. The matrix type passed in as H depends on the automatic differentiation system, so make sure the first argument to the Hessian function supports an AbstractMatrix (it may be something other than Matrix{Float64}). However, you may assume only that H supports size(H) and setindex!. Finally, the matrix is treated as dense, so the performance will be poor on functions with high-dimensional input.

### User-defined functions with vector inputs

User-defined functions which take vectors as input arguments (for example, f(x::Vector)) are not supported. Instead, use Julia's splatting syntax to create a function with scalar arguments. For example, instead of

f(x::Vector) = sum(x[i]^i for i in 1:length(x))

define:

f(x...) = sum(x[i]^i for i in 1:length(x))

This function f can be used in a JuMP model as follows:

model = Model()
@variable(model, x[1:5] >= 0)
f(x...) = sum(x[i]^i for i in 1:length(x))
register(model, :f, 5, f; autodiff = true)
@NLobjective(model, Min, f(x...))
Tip

Make sure to read the syntax restrictions of Splatting.

## Factors affecting solution time

The execution time when solving a nonlinear programming problem can be divided into two parts, the time spent in the optimization algorithm (the solver) and the time spent evaluating the nonlinear functions and corresponding derivatives. Ipopt explicitly displays these two timings in its output, for example:

Total CPU secs in IPOPT (w/o function evaluations)   =      7.412
Total CPU secs in NLP function evaluations           =      2.083

For Ipopt in particular, one can improve the performance by installing advanced sparse linear algebra packages, see Installation Guide. For other solvers, see their respective documentation for performance tips.

The function evaluation time, on the other hand, is the responsibility of the modeling language. JuMP computes derivatives by using reverse-mode automatic differentiation with graph coloring methods for exploiting sparsity of the Hessian matrix. As a conservative bound, JuMP's performance here currently may be expected to be within a factor of 5 of AMPL's. Our paper in SIAM Review has more details.

## Querying derivatives from a JuMP model

For some advanced use cases, one may want to directly query the derivatives of a JuMP model instead of handing the problem off to a solver. Internally, JuMP implements the MOI.AbstractNLPEvaluator interface. To obtain an NLP evaluator object from a JuMP model, use NLPEvaluator. index returns the MOI.VariableIndex corresponding to a JuMP variable. MOI.VariableIndex itself is a type-safe wrapper for Int64 (stored in the .value field.)

For example:

julia> raw_index(v::MOI.VariableIndex) = v.value
raw_index (generic function with 1 method)

julia> model = Model();

julia> @variable(model, x)
x

julia> @variable(model, y)
y

julia> @NLobjective(model, Min, sin(x) + sin(y))

julia> values = zeros(2)
2-element Vector{Float64}:
0.0
0.0

julia> x_index = raw_index(JuMP.index(x))
1

julia> y_index = raw_index(JuMP.index(y))
2

julia> values[x_index] = 2.0
2.0

julia> values[y_index] = 3.0
3.0

julia> d = NLPEvaluator(model)
Nonlinear.Evaluator with available features:
* :Jac
* :JacVec
* :Hess
* :HessVec
* :ExprGraph

julia> MOI.eval_objective(d, values)
1.0504174348855488

julia> sin(2.0) + sin(3.0)
1.0504174348855488

julia> ∇f = zeros(2)
2-element Vector{Float64}:
0.0
0.0

julia> ∇f[x_index], ∇f[y_index]
(-0.4161468365471424, -0.9899924966004454)

julia> cos(2.0), cos(3.0)
(-0.4161468365471424, -0.9899924966004454)

Only nonlinear constraints (those added with @NLconstraint), and nonlinear objectives (added with @NLobjective) exist in the scope of the NLPEvaluator.

The NLPEvaluator does not evaluate derivatives of linear or quadratic constraints or objectives.

The index method applied to a nonlinear constraint reference object returns its index as a MOI.Nonlinear.ConstraintIndex. For example:

julia> model = Model();

julia> @variable(model, x);

julia> @NLconstraint(model, cons1, sin(x) <= 1);

julia> @NLconstraint(model, cons2, x + 5 == 10);

julia> typeof(cons1)
NonlinearConstraintRef{ScalarShape} (alias for ConstraintRef{GenericModel{Float64}, MathOptInterface.Nonlinear.ConstraintIndex, ScalarShape})

julia> index(cons1)
MathOptInterface.Nonlinear.ConstraintIndex(1)

julia> index(cons2)
MathOptInterface.Nonlinear.ConstraintIndex(2)

Note that for one-sided nonlinear constraints, JuMP subtracts any values on the right-hand side when computing expressions. In other words, one-sided nonlinear constraints are always transformed to have a right-hand side of zero.

This method of querying derivatives directly from a JuMP model is convenient for interacting with the model in a structured way, for example, for accessing derivatives of specific variables. For example, in statistical maximum likelihood estimation problems, one is often interested in the Hessian matrix at the optimal solution, which can be queried using the NLPEvaluator.

## Raw expression input

Warning

This section requires advanced knowledge of Julia's Expr. You should read the Expressions and evaluation section of the Julia documentation first.

In addition to the @NLexpression, @NLobjective and @NLconstraint macros, it is also possible to provide Julia Expr objects directly by using add_nonlinear_expression, set_nonlinear_objective and add_nonlinear_constraint.

This input form may be useful if the expressions are generated programmatically, or if you experience compilation issues with the macro input (see Known performance issues for more information).

Use add_nonlinear_expression to add a nonlinear expression to the model.

julia> model = Model();

julia> @variable(model, x)
x

julia> expr = :($(x) + sin($(x)^2))
:(x + sin(x ^ 2))

subexpression[1]: x + sin(x ^ 2.0)

This is equivalent to

julia> model = Model();

julia> @variable(model, x);

julia> expr_ref = @NLexpression(model, x + sin(x^2))
subexpression[1]: x + sin(x ^ 2.0)
Note

You must interpolate the variables directly into the expression expr.

### Set the objective function

Use set_nonlinear_objective to set a nonlinear objective.

julia> model = Model();

julia> @variable(model, x);

julia> expr = :($(x) +$(x)^2)
:(x + x ^ 2)

julia> set_nonlinear_objective(model, MIN_SENSE, expr)

This is equivalent to

julia> model = Model();

julia> @variable(model, x);

julia> @NLobjective(model, Min, x + x^2)
Note

You must use MIN_SENSE or MAX_SENSE instead of Min and Max.

Use add_nonlinear_constraint to add a nonlinear constraint.

julia> model = Model();

julia> @variable(model, x);

julia> expr = :($(x) +$(x)^2)
:(x + x ^ 2)

julia> add_nonlinear_constraint(model, :($(expr) <= 1)) (x + x ^ 2.0) - 1.0 ≤ 0 This is equivalent to julia> model = Model(); julia> @variable(model, x); julia> @NLconstraint(model, Min, x + x^2 <= 1) (x + x ^ 2.0) - 1.0 ≤ 0 ### More complicated examples Raw expression input is most useful when the expressions are generated programmatically, often in conjunction with user-defined functions. As an example, we construct a model with the nonlinear constraints f(x) <= 1, where f(x) = x^2 and f(x) = sin(x)^2: julia> function main(functions::Vector{Function}) model = Model() @variable(model, x) for (i, f) in enumerate(functions) f_sym = Symbol("f_$(i)")
register(model, f_sym, 1, f; autodiff = true)
add_nonlinear_constraint(model, :($(f_sym)($(x)) <= 1))
end
print(model)
return
end
main (generic function with 1 method)

julia> main([x -> x^2, x -> sin(x)^2])
Feasibility
Subject to
f_1(x) - 1.0 ≤ 0
f_2(x) - 1.0 ≤ 0

As another example, we construct a model with the constraint x^2 + sin(x)^2 <= 1:

julia> function main(functions::Vector{Function})
model = Model()
@variable(model, x)
expr = Expr(:call, :+)
for (i, f) in enumerate(functions)
f_sym = Symbol("f_$(i)") register(model, f_sym, 1, f; autodiff = true) push!(expr.args, :($(f_sym)($(x)))) end add_nonlinear_constraint(model, :($(expr) <= 1))
print(model)
return
end
main (generic function with 1 method)

julia> main([x -> x^2, x -> sin(x)^2])
Feasibility
Subject to
(f_1(x) + f_2(x)) - 1.0 ≤ 0

### Registered functions with a variable number of arguments

User defined functions require a fixed number of input arguments. However, sometimes you will want to use a registered function like:

julia> f(x...) = sum(exp(x[i]^2) for i in 1:length(x));

with different numbers of arguments.

The solution is to register the same function f for each unique number of input arguments, making sure to use a unique name each time. For example:

julia> A = [[1], [1, 2], [2, 3, 4], [1, 3, 4, 5]];

julia> model = Model();

julia> @variable(model, x[1:5]);

julia> funcs = Set{Symbol}();

julia> for a in A
key = Symbol("f$(length(a))") if !(key in funcs) push!(funcs, key) register(model, key, length(a), f; autodiff = true) end add_nonlinear_constraint(model, :($key(\$(x[a]...)) <= 1))
end

julia> print(model)
Feasibility
Subject to
f1(x[1]) - 1.0 ≤ 0
f2(x[1], x[2]) - 1.0 ≤ 0
f3(x[2], x[3], x[4]) - 1.0 ≤ 0
f4(x[1], x[3], x[4], x[5]) - 1.0 ≤ 0

## Known performance issues

The macro-based input to JuMP's nonlinear interface can cause a performance issue if you:

1. write a macro with a large number (hundreds) of terms
2. call that macro from within a function instead of from the top-level in global scope.

The first issue does not depend on the number of resulting terms in the mathematical expression, but rather the number of terms in the Julia Expr representation of that expression. For example, the expression sum(x[i] for i in 1:1_000_000) contains one million mathematical terms, but the Expr representation is just a single sum.

The most common cause, other than a lot of tedious typing, is if you write a program that automatically writes a JuMP model as a text file, which you later execute. One example is MINLPlib.jl which automatically transpiled models in the GAMS scalar format into JuMP examples.

As a rule of thumb, if you are writing programs to automatically generate expressions for the JuMP macros, you should target the Raw expression input instead. For more information, read MathOptInterface Issue#1997.