Journal of Optimization Theory and Applications

, Volume 179, Issue 1, pp 163–196 | Cite as

On Glowinski’s Open Question on the Alternating Direction Method of Multipliers

  • Min TaoEmail author
  • Xiaoming Yuan


The alternating direction method of multipliers was proposed by Glowinski and Marrocco in 1974, and it has been widely used in a broad spectrum of areas, especially in some sparsity-driven application domains. In 1982, Fortin and Glowinski suggested to enlarge the range of the dual step size for updating the multiplier from 1 to the open interval of zero to the golden ratio, and this strategy immediately accelerates the convergence of alternating direction method of multipliers for most of its applications. Meanwhile, Glowinski raised the question of whether or not the range can be further enlarged to the open interval of zero to 2; this question remains open with nearly no progress in the past decades. In this paper, we answer this question affirmatively for the case where both the functions in the objective function are quadratic. Thus, Glowinski’s open question is partially answered. We further establish the global linear convergence of the alternating direction method of multipliers with this enlarged step size range for the quadratic programming under a tight condition.


Alternating direction method of multipliers Glowinski’s open question Quadratic programming Step size Linear convergence 

Mathematics Subject Classification

90C25 90C30 65K05 90C20 



Min Tao was supported by the NSFC Grant: 11301280 and the Fundamental Research Funds for the Central Universities: 14380019. Xiaoming Yuan was supported by the General Research Fund from Hong Kong Research Grants Council: 12313516.


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Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Mathematics, National Key Laboratory for Novel Software TechnologyNanjing UniversityJiangsuChina
  2. 2.Department of MathematicsThe University of Hong KongHong KongChina

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