Organizers: Paul Irofti, Laurențiu Leuștean and Andrei Pătraşcu

The LOS Seminar is the working seminar of the LOS research center.

The seminars are online. All seminars, except where otherwise indicated, will be Tuesdays at 14:00.

To receive announcements about the seminar, please send an email to

Wednesday, June 23, 2021

Laurențiu Leuștean (LOS and IMAR)
Proof mining and applications in nonlinear analysis and convex optimization. Part II

Tuesday, June 14, 2021

Laurențiu Leuștean (LOS and IMAR)
Proof mining and applications in nonlinear analysis and convex optimization

Abstract: The research program of proof mining is concerned with the extraction of hidden finitary content from proofs that make use of highly infinitary principles. The new information is obtained after a logical analysis, using proof-theoretic tools, and can be both of quantitative nature, such as algorithms and effective bounds, as well as of qualitative nature, such as uniformities in the bounds or weakening the premises. Thus, even if one is not particularly interested in the numerical details of the bounds themselves, in many cases such explicit bounds immediately show the independence of the quantity in question from certain input data. This line of research, developed by Ulrich Kohlenbach in the 1990's, has its roots in Georg Kreisel's program on unwinding of proofs, put forward in the 1950's. Proof mining can be related to Terence Tao's proposal of hard analysis, based on finitary arguments, instead of the infinitary ones from soft analysis. In this talk we give an introduction to proof mining and present some recent applications in nonlinear analysis and convex optimization.

Tuesday, June 1, 2021

Andrei Sipoș (LOS and IMAR)
On abstract proximal point algorithms and related concepts

Abstract: The proximal point algorithm is a fundamental tool of convex optimization, traditionally attributed to Martinet [1], Rockafellar [2] (who named it) and Brézis and Lions [3]. In its many variants, it usually operates by iterating on a starting point a sequence of mappings dubbed ``resolvents", whose fixed points coincide with the solutions of the optimization problem that one is aiming at. It has been observed by Eckstein [4] that the arguments used to prove the convergence of this algorithm ``hinge primarily on the firmly nonexpansive properties of the resolvents". Inspired by this remark, the speaker, together with L. Leuştean and A. Nicolae, has introduced in [5] the notion of jointly firmly nonexpansive family of mappings, which allows for a highly abstract proof of the proximal point algorithm's convergence, encompassing virtually all known variants in the literature. We have recently revisited [6] the concept, providing a conceptual characterization of it and showing how it may be used to prove other kinds of results usually associated with resolvent-type mappings. In this talk, we shall report on all these findings and point towards works in progress and future developments.

[1] B. Martinet, Régularisation d'inéquations variationnelles par approximations successives. Rev. Française Informat. Recherche Opérationnelle 4, 154–158, 1970.
[2] R. T. Rockafellar, Monotone operators and the proximal point algorithm. SIAM J. Control Optim. 14, 877–898, 1976.
[3] H. Brézis, P. L. Lions, Produits infinis de resolvantes. Israel J. Math. 29, 329–345, 1978.
[4] J. Eckstein, The Lions-Mercier Splitting Algorithm and the Alternating Direction Method are Instances of the Proximal Point Algorithm. Report LIDS-P-1769, Laboratory for Information and Decision Sciences, MIT, 1989.
[5] L. Leuştean, A. Nicolae, A. Sipoş, An abstract proximal point algorithm. Journal of Global Optimization, Volume 72, Issue 3, 553–577, 2018.
DOI: 10.1007/s10898-018-0655-9.
[6] A. Sipoş, Revisiting jointly firmly nonexpansive families of mappings. Optimization (2021).
DOI: 10.1080/02331934.2021.1915312.

Tuesday, May 18, 2021

Andrei Pătraşcu (LOS)
On complexity of the first-order algorithms for convex optimization. Part II

Tuesday, May 11, 2021

Andrei Pătraşcu (LOS)
On complexity of the first-order algorithms for convex optimization

Abstract: The potential of the first-order algorithms in the big data context has been confirmed repeatedly in the last decades, in fields like machine learning, signal processing and computer science. In this seminar we will introduce and analyze the main first-order methods successfully used to solve many convex optimization models under various smoothness and convexity features. Our analysis will provide insights on their iterative behaviour and iteration complexity for deterministic and stochastic (noisy) settings. Finally, some concrete applications will be discussed.

Tuesday, April 20, 2021

Cristi Rusu (LOS)
Learning orthonormal dictionaries as efficient as the Fast Fourier Transform

Abstract: Dictionary learning is a popular technique in signal processing and machine learning used to build simple or efficient representations of data. In this talk, we will look at this problem when the dictionary we construct is constrained to be orthonormal. We discuss why is property is desirable and how to introduce additional properties such as numerical efficiency. The goal is to show how to learn transformations from data that are at least as efficient as the Fast Fourier Transform (FFT). We will discuss applications and extensions of this work.

Tuesday, April 6, 2021

Florin Stoican (Polytechnic University of Bucharest and LOS)
About the use of B-spline functions in motion planning

Abstract: B-spline functions are a popular choice for describing trajectories associated with nonlinear dynamics and for imposing continuous-time constraint validation. Exploiting their properties (local support, convexity and positivity) usually leads to sufficient conditions which are conservative. In this talk I will present two methods which reduce the conservatism: the first makes use of sum-of-squares polynomials to provide a linear matrix inequality-type formulation giving necessary and sufficient conditions and the second makes use of knot refinement strategies to improve arbitrarily -well on the sufficient conditions. In both cases, the approaches are validated for a motion planning problem where off-line trajectories with obstacle(s) avoidance guarantees are generated.