### Abstract

We study the convergence properties of an overlapping Schwarz decomposition algorithm for solving nonlinear optimal control problems (OCPs). The algorithm decomposes the time domain into a set of overlapping subdomains, and solves all subproblems defined over subdomains in parallel. The convergence is attained by updating primal-dual information at the boundaries of overlapping subdomains. We show that the algorithm exhibits local linear convergence, and that the convergence rate improves exponentially with the overlap size. We also establish global convergence results for a general quadratic programming, which enables the application of the Schwarz scheme inside second-order optimization algorithms (e.g., sequential quadratic programming). The theoretical foundation of our convergence analysis is a sensitivity result of nonlinear OCPs, which we call “exponential decay of sensitivity” (EDS). Intuitively, EDS states that the impact of perturbations at domain boundaries (i.e., initial and terminal time) on the solution decays exponentially as one moves into the domain. Here, we expand a previous analysis available in the literature by showing that EDS holds for both primal and dual solutions of nonlinear OCPs, under uniform second-order sufficient condition, controllability condition, and boundedness condition. We conduct experiments with a quadrotor motion planning problem and a partial differential equations (PDE) control problem to validate our theory, and show that the approach is significantly more efficient than alternating direction method of multipliers and as efficient as the centralized interior-point solver.

Publication

*IEEE Transactions on Automatic Control*

###### 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.

###### Postdoc in Mathematics and Computer Science Division

Sungho Shin is a postdoc in the Mathematics and Computer Science Division at Argonne National Laboratory. His research interests include model predictive control, optimization algorithms, and their applications to large-scale energy infrastructures (such as natural gas and power networks).

###### 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.

###### Baldovin-DaPra Professor of Chemical and Biological Engineering

Victor M. Zavala is a Baldovin-DaPra Professor of Chemical and Biological Engineering at the University of Wisconsin at Madison. His group focuses on the use of mathematics and computation to tackle diverse problems arising in optimization, control, data science, and energy/environmental systems.