### Abstract

We consider solving nonlinear optimization problems with a stochastic objective and deterministic equality constraints. We assume for the objective that its evaluation, gradient, and Hessian are inaccessible, while one can compute their stochastic estimates by, for example, subsampling. We propose a stochastic algorithm based on sequential quadratic programming (SQP) that uses a differentiable exact augmented Lagrangian as the merit function. To motivate our algorithm design, we first revisit and simplify an old SQP method (Lucidi S, 1990) developed for solving deterministic problems, which serves as the skeleton of our stochastic algorithm. Based on the simplified deterministic algorithm, we then propose a non-adaptive SQP for dealing with stochastic objective, where the gradient and Hessian are replaced by stochastic estimates but the stepsizes are deterministic and prespecified. Finally, we incorporate a recent stochastic line search procedure (Paquette and Scheinberg, 2020) into the non-adaptive stochastic SQP to adaptively select the random stepsizes, which leads to an adaptive stochastic SQP. The global “almost sure” convergence for both non-adaptive and adaptive SQP methods is established. Numerical experiments on nonlinear problems in CUTEst test set demonstrate the superiority of the adaptive algorithm.

Publication

*Mathematical Programming*

###### Postdoc in Statistics and ICSI

Sen Na is a postdoctoral scholar in the Statistics department and ICSI at UC Berkeley. His research interests broadly lie in the mathematical foundations of data science, with topics including high-dimensional statistics, graphical models, semiparametric models, optimal control, and large-scale and stochastic nonlinear optimization. He is also interested in applying machine learning methods in biology, neuroscience, and engineering.

###### Professor in Statistics and CAM

Mihai Anitescu is a Professor in the Statistics and CAM departments at the University of Chicago, and is also a senior computational mathematician in the Mathematics and Computer Science Division at Argonne. He works on a variety of topics on control, optimization, and computational statistics.

###### Associate Professor of Econometrics and Statistics

Mladen Kolar is an Associate Professor of Econometrics and Statistics at the University of Chicago Booth School of Business. His research is focused on high-dimensional statistical methods, graphical models, varying-coefficient models and data mining, driven by the need to uncover interesting and scientifically meaningful structures from observational data.