Wednesday, September 27, 2023

Math and ChatGPT

Performing symbolic math steps is often related to pattern recognition. In theory, ChatGPT could be doing a good job here. I wanted to find the inverse of \[f(x) = {\mathrm{sign}}(x) \log(1+|x|)\] This function is a form of a signed logarithmic scaling. So, let's see what ChatGPT is telling us:

Wednesday, September 20, 2023

Julia vs Python

I gave a talk to economists (i.e., not professional programmers) about a Julia project we were working on. Julia is famous for its speed. It uses LLVM [1] as back-end for its JIT (Just In Time) compilation. As seeing is believing, here is an example algorithm which is used to compare performance between different languages and tools. This example was chosen as it is small, easy to explain, and easy to program while still showing meaningful time differences.

We have a square \([-1,+1]\times[-1,+1]\) and an inscribing circle with radius \(1\). See the dynamic figure below. Their areas are \(4\) and \(\pi\) respectively. The idea is to draw \(n\) points \[\begin{align}& x_i \sim U(-1,+1) \\ & y_i \sim U(-1,+1)\end{align}\]Let \(m\) be the number of points inside the circle, i.e. with \[x_i^2+y_i^2\lt 1\] Obviously, from the ratio of the areas, we have \[\frac{m}{n} \approx \frac{\pi}{4}\] It follows that an estimate of \(\pi\) is \[\hat{\pi}=4\frac{m}{n}\]

Simulation with n=1000

Monday, September 4, 2023

Critiquing a GAMS Model

It is always interesting to read GAMS models written by someone else. There are probably three things one can observe:

  • A nice formulation or concept that is useful to learn about.
  • A bad implementation: something that really should not be done that way.
  • A piece of code that is correct and defensible, but I would write it differently. This includes things like style, layout, formatting, etc.
My way of reading GAMS code is often to start editing and make it "my code". It is a bit slower process, but that comes with its advantages: better understanding of what is going on, and often cleaner code.

Here, I am looking at the model sambal.gms in the GAMS model library [1]. It is a very small model, but I have many thoughts about it. The complete model is reproduced in Appendix 1. Let's walk through it.

The matrix balancing problem is to find a nearby matrix such that row- and column sums are obeyed. A relative quadratic objective is used to minimize the sum of the squared deviations between the original data (the priors) and the final matrix. Zeros in the matrix need to be maintained: they can't become nonzero. This is sometimes called sparsity preservation. Often, sign-preservation is another condition. That is not part of this model. Note that, in this model, not only the matrix is updated but also the row and column totals. 

Tuesday, August 29, 2023

Three-level Matrix Balancing

Matrix balancing: introduction

Matrix Balancing Models are often used in economic modeling exercises: they create consistent data sets from data originating from different, conflicting data sources. A standard example is updating a matrix subject to given row and column sums. An example can look like:

Update orange cells subject to row/column sums

The empty cells are zero, and they should remain zero. In other words, we need to preserve sparsity. Often, we have non-negativity restrictions on the values. The mathematical model can look like this:

Friday, August 4, 2023

Some TSP MTZ experiments

In [1], a question was posed about a TSP model using the MTZ (Miller-Tucker-Zemlin) subtour elimination constraints. The results with Julia/glpk were disappointing. With \(n=58\) cities, things were taken so long that the solver seemed to hang. Here I want to see how a precise formulation with a good MIP solver can do better. As seeing is believing, let's do some experiments. 

The standard MTZ formulation[1] can be derived easily. We use the binary variables \[\color{darkred}x_{i,j}=\begin{cases}1 & \text{if city $j$ is visited directly after going to city $i$}\\ 0 & \text{otherwise}\end{cases}\]  

Wednesday, July 12, 2023

Coloring edges of a grid

This is a little coloring problem from [1]:

Given an m * n grid, each edge must be colored. However, there are 2 constraints:

  1. Entire grid must use only 3 unique colors
  2. Each square in the grid must be colored using exactly 2 colors (2 edges per color)

Let's try to build a GAMS model for this. The question itself is not so interesting, but the modeling for setting up these grids is.

Thursday, July 6, 2023

A Julia thingy

 In Julia, we can write 2x instead of 2*x. Not the most earth-shattering. But a bit special nonetheless.

The expression in the last cell is interpreted as a function call.

Sunday, July 2, 2023

Some confusion here

Sometimes you end up visiting strange sites. This is a question & answer site. The question is:

Obviously, this is not a good question. It is something like "what is the difference between a ham sandwich and butter?".

The answers are not so good either. 

Tuesday, June 27, 2023

CVXPY DCP errors

CVXPY is a popular tool to model and solve convex optimization problems. Sometimes, it throws a "DCP" error, even for convex problems. DCP stands for Disciplined Convex Programming, the underlying framework for working with guaranteed convex models. The error says: I can not verify this is convex.  

Here are some small examples of convex objectives (under minimization) one would expect to work.

ObjectiveCVXPY codeResultNotes
\[\color{darkred}x^T \color{darkred}x\]x.T@xDCP errorprint shows minimize x@x, i.e. transpose is dropped
\[\color{darkred}x^T \color{darkred}x\]x@xDCP error
\[\color{darkred}x^T \color{darkred}x\]cp.sum_squares(x)transformed into quad_over_lin(x, 1.0)
\[\color{darkred}x^T \color{darkblue}Q \color{darkred}x\]x.T@Q@xtransformed into QuadForm(x,Q)
\[\color{darkred}y:=\color{darkred}x-\color{darkblue}p\]\[\color{darkred}x^T \color{darkblue}Q \color{darkred}y\]y=x-p
DCP error
\[\color{darkred}x^T \color{darkblue}Q \color{darkred}x - \color{darkred}x^T \color{darkblue}Q \color{darkblue}p\]x.T@Q@x - x.T@Q@pfirst term transformed into QuadForm(x,Q)

Not everything makes sense to me. I am not sure why x.T@x is not properly recognized, but x.T@Q@x is.

Wednesday, May 10, 2023

Generate all solutions that sum up to one

In a post, the following question was posed:

We can select unique values  \(\displaystyle\frac{1}{i}\) for \(i=1,\dots,n\). Find all combinations that add up to 1.

A complete enumeration scheme was slow even for \(n=10\). Can we use a MIP model for this or something related?

A single solution is easily found using the model:

Mathematical Model
\[ \begin{align} & \sum_{i=1}^n \frac{1}{i} \cdot \color{darkred}x_i = 1 \\ & \color{darkred}x_i \in \{0,1\} \end{align}\]