Core tools (internals)

Mostly for advanced users

This page lists the core tools of Manopt. They are mostly relevant for users who develop solvers and tools (but not only).


In our discussion of how to implement cost functions, we already noted that it is best to use the tools getCost, getGradient and getHessian to evaluate \(f\) and its derivatives, as opposed to calling problem.cost or problem.grad directly. The main reason for this is that users have many choices available for how to implement these objects. For example, problem.cost may not exist if the user opted to define problem.costgrad instead.

The inputs storedb and key are usually optional. It is a good idea to pass them if they are available, as this allows for caching to be used.

  • cost = getCost(problem, x, storedb, key)
  • [cost, grad] = getCostGrad(problem, x, storedb, key)
  • grad = getGradient(problem, x, storedb, key)
  • agrad = getApproxGradient(problem, x, storedb, key)
  • pgrad = getPartialGradient(problem, x, I, storedb, key)
  • egrad = getEuclideanGradient(problem, x, storedb, key)
  • pgrad = getPartialEuclideanGradient(problem, x, I, storedb, key)
  • subgrad = getSubgradient(problem, x, tol, storedb, key)
  • diff = getDirectionalDerivative(problem, x, d, storedb, key)
  • hess = getHessian(problem, x, d, storedb, key)
  • hessfd = getHessianFD(problem, x, d, storedb, key)
  • approxhess = getApproxHessian(problem, x, d, storedb, key)
  • t = getLinesearch(problem, x, d, storedb, key)
  • Pd = getPrecon(problem, x, d, storedb, key)
  • sqrtPd = getSqrtPrecon(problem, x, d, storedb, key)


Functions called canGetXYZ output true if the problem structure provides sufficient information for Manopt to compute XYZ exactly. They output false otherwise.

If false is returned, that does not imply a call to getXYZ will fail. For example, if the problem structure specifies the gradient via problem.grad but it does not provide the Hessian, then there is not enough information to compute the exact Hessian. Accordingly, canGetHessian(problem) ouputs false. Yet, a call to getHessian(problem, x, u) does produce something; namely, a finite difference approximation of the Hessian for the provided inputs.

Typically, solvers and tools call canGetXYZ functions to assess what can be done with the given problem structure. They issue appropriate warnings as needed, then often proceed to call the getXYZ functions anyway. The general philosophy is that Manopt tries to do its best to answer the question asked, with the caveat that it might be slow or inaccurate. If so, tools and solvers normally give a heads up to that effect.

  • candoit = canGetCost(problem)
  • candoit = canGetDirectionalDerivative(problem)
  • candoit = canGetGradient(problem)
  • candoit = canGetApproxGradient(problem)
  • candoit = canGetPartialGradient(problem)
  • candoit = canGetEuclideanGradient(problem)
  • candoit = canGetPartialEuclideanGradient(problem)
  • candoit = canGetSubgradient(problem)
  • candoit = canGetHessian(problem)
  • candoit = canGetApproxHessian(problem)
  • candoit = canGetPrecon(problem)
  • candoit = canGetSqrtPrecon(problem)
  • candoit = canGetLinesearch(problem)

Helpers for solvers

When developing solvers (optimization algorithms), it is usually necessary to call these tools:

  • opts = getGlobalDefaults()
  • opts = mergeOptions(opts1, opts2)
  • stats = applyStatsfun(problem, x, storedb, key, options, stats)
  • [stop, reason] = stoppingcriterion(problem, x, options, info, last)
  • [newx, newkey, info, hooked] = applyHook(problem, x, storedb, key, options, info, last) (less common)

For an example, read through the code of an existing solver, e.g., steepestdescent.

Caching system

The caching system is described on this page. Internally, it is handled with the StoreDB class whose code is here.

  • storedb = StoreDB()

The class inherits from handle_light, whose code is here. The latter comes from a StackOverflow post by user sclarke81.