The inaugural volume of the Journal of Nonsmooth Analysis and Optimization (2020)

The paper is concerned with an optimal control problem governed by a state equation in form of a generalized abstract operator differential equation involving a maximal monotone operator. The state equation is uniquely solvable, but the associated solution operator is in general not GĂ˘teaux-differentiable. In order to derive optimality conditions, we therefore regularize the state equation and its solution operator, respectively, by means of a (smoothed) Yosida approximation. We show convergence of global minimizers for regularization parameter tending to zero and derive necessary and sufficient optimality conditions for the regularized problems. The paper ends with an application of the abstract theory to optimal control of homogenized quasi-static elastoplasticity.

For any scalar-valued bivariate function that is locally Lipschitz continuous and directionally differentiable, it is shown that a subgradient may always be constructed from the function's directional derivatives in the four compass directions, arranged in a so-called "compass difference". When the original function is nonconvex, the obtained subgradient is an element of Clarke's generalized gradient, but the result appears to be novel even for convex functions. The function is not required to be represented in any particular form, and no further assumptions are required, though the result is strengthened when the function is additionally L-smooth in the sense of Nesterov. For certain optimal-value functions and certain parametric solutions of differential equation systems, these new results appear to provide the only known way to compute a subgradient. These results also imply that centered finite differences will converge to a subgradient for bivariate nonsmooth functions. As a dual result, we find that any compact convex set in two dimensions contains the midpoint of its interval hull. Examples are included for illustration, and it is demonstrated that these results do not extend directly to functions of more than two variables or sets in higher dimensions.

Based on the tools of limiting variational analysis, we derive a sequential necessary optimality condition for nonsmooth mathematical programs which holds without any additional assumptions. In order to ensure that stationary points in this new sense are already Mordukhovich-stationary, the presence of a constraint qualification which we call AM-regularity is necessary. We investigate the relationship between AM-regularity and other constraint qualifications from nonsmooth optimization like metric (sub-)regularity of the underlying feasibility mapping. Our findings are applied to optimization problems with geometric and, particularly, disjunctive constraints. This way, it is shown that AM-regularity recovers recently introduced cone-continuity-type constraint qualifications, sometimes referred to as AKKT-regularity, from standard nonlinear and complementarity-constrained optimization. Finally, we discuss some consequences of AM-regularity for the limiting variational calculus.

In this paper we study the right differentiability of a parametric infimum function over a parametric set defined by equality constraints. We present a new theorem with sufficient conditions for the right differentiability with respect to the parameter. Target applications are nonconvex objective functions with equality constraints arising in optimal control and shape optimisation. The theorem makes use of the averaged adjoint approach in conjunction with the variational approach of Kunisch, Ito and Peichl. We provide two examples of our abstract result: (a) a shape optimisation problem involving a semilinear partial differential equation which exhibits infinitely many solutions, (b) a finite dimensional quadratic function subject to a nonlinear equation.