An SQP Method for the Optimal Control of Large-Scale Dynamical Systems

We propose a sequential quadratic programming (SQP) method for the optimal control of large-scale dynamical systems. The method uses modified multiple shooting to discretize the dynamical constraints. When these systems have relatively few parameters, the computational complexity of the modified method is much less than that of standard multiple shooting. Moreover, the proposed method is demonstrably more robust than single shooting. In the context of the SQP method, the use of modified multiple shooting involves a transformation of the constraint Jacobian. The affected rows are those associated with the continuity constraints and any path constraints applied within the shooting intervals. Path constraints enforced at the shooting points (and other constraints involving only discretized states) are not transformed. The transformation is cast almost entirely at the user level and requires minimal changes to the optimization software. We show that the modified quadratic subproblem yields a descent direction for the L-1 penalty function. Numerical experiments verify the efficiency of the modified method.
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