The alternating direction method of multipliers (ADMM) is now widely used in many fields, and its convergence was proved when two blocks of variables are alternatively updated. It is strongly desirable and practically valuable to extend the ADMM directly to the case of a multi-block convex minimization problem where its objective function is the sum of more than two separable convex functions. However, the convergence of this extension has been missing for a long time—neither an affirmative convergence proof nor an example showing its divergence is known in the literature. In this paper we give a negative answer to this long-standing open question: The direct extension of ADMM is not necessarily convergent. We present a sufficient condition to ensure the convergence of the direct extension of ADMM, and give an example to show its divergence.
Scopus Subject Areas
- Alternating direction method of multipliers
- Convergence analysis
- Convex programming
- Splitting methods