One of the most useful applications for derivatives of a function of one variable is the determination of maximum and/or minimum values. This application is also important for functions of two or more variables, but as we have seen in earlier sections of this chapter, the introduction of more independent variables leads to more possible outcomes for the calculations. The main ideas of finding critical points and using derivative tests are still valid, but new wrinkles appear when assessing the results.

## Critical Points

For functions of a single variable, we defined critical points as the values of the function when the derivative equals zero or does not exist. For functions of two or more variables, the concept is essentially the same, except for the fact that we are now working with partial derivatives.

Definition: Critical Points

Let (z=f(x,y)) be a function of two variables that is differentiable on an open set containing the point ((x_0,y_0)). The point ((x_0,y_0)) is called a *critical point* of a function of two variables (f) if one of the two following conditions holds:

- (f_x(x_0,y_0)=f_y(x_0,y_0)=0)
- Either (f_x(x_0,y_0) ; ext{or} ; f_y(x_0,y_0)) does not exist.

Example (PageIndex{1}): Finding Critical Points

Find the critical points of each of the following functions:

- (f(x,y)=sqrt{4y^2−9x^2+24y+36x+36})
- (g(x,y)=x^2+2xy−4y^2+4x−6y+4)

**Solution:**

a. First, we calculate (f_x(x,y) ; ext{and} ; f_y(x,y):)

[egin{align*} f_x(x,y)&=dfrac{1}{2}(−18x+36)(4y^2−9x^2+24y+36x+36)^{−1/2} &=dfrac{−9x+18}{sqrt{4y^2−9x^2+24y+36x+36}} end{align*}]

[egin{align*} f_y(x,y)&=dfrac{1}{2}(8y+24)(4y^2−9x^2+24y+36x+36)^{−1/2} &=dfrac{4y+12}{sqrt{4y^2−9x^2+24y+36x+36}} end{align*}.]

Next, we set each of these expressions equal to zero:

[egin{align*} dfrac{−9x+18}{sqrt{4y^2−9x^2+24y+36x+36}}&=0 dfrac{4y+12}{sqrt{4y^2−9x^2+24y+36x+36}}&=0. end{align*}]

Then, multiply both sides of each equation by its denominator (to clear the denominators):

[egin{align*} −9x+18&=0 4y+12&=0. end{align*}]

Therefore, (x=2) and (y=−3,) so ((2,−3)) is a critical point of (f).

We must also check for the possibility that the denominator of each partial derivative can equal zero, thus causing the partial derivative not to exist. Since the denominator is the same in each partial derivative, we need only do this once:

[4y^2−9x^2+24y+36x+36=0. onumber]

This equation represents a hyperbola. We should also note that the domain of (f) consists of points satisfying the inequality

[4y^2−9x^2+24y+36x+36≥0. onumber]

Therefore, any points on the hyperbola are not only critical points, they are also on the boundary of the domain. To put the hyperbola in standard form, we use the method of completing the square:

[egin{align*} 4y^2−9x^2+24y+36x+36&=0 4y^2−9x^2+24y+36x&=−36 4y^2+24y−9x^2+36x&=−36 4(y^2+6y)−9(x^2−4x)&=−36 4(y^2+6y+9)−9(x^2−4x+4)&=−36−36+36 4(y+3)^2−9(x−2)^2&=−36.end{align*}]

Dividing both sides by (−36) puts the equation in standard form:

[egin{align*} dfrac{4(y+3)^2}{−36}−dfrac{9(x−2)^2}{−36}&=1 dfrac{(x−2)^2}{4}−dfrac{(y+3)^2}{9}&=1. end{align*}]

Notice that point ((2,−3)) is the center of the hyperbola.

Thus, the critical points of the function (f) are ( (2, -3) ) and all points on the hyperbola, (dfrac{(x−2)^2}{4}−dfrac{(y+3)^2}{9}=1).

b. First, we calculate (g_x(x,y)) and (g_y(x,y)):

[egin{align*} g_x(x,y)&=2x+2y+4 g_y(x,y)&=2x−8y−6. end{align*}]

Next, we set each of these expressions equal to zero, which gives a system of equations in (x) and (y):

[egin{align*} 2x+2y+4&=0 2x−8y−6&=0. end{align*}]

Subtracting the second equation from the first gives (10y+10=0), so (y=−1). Substituting this into the first equation gives (2x+2(−1)+4=0), so (x=−1).

Therefore ((−1,−1)) is a critical point of (g). There are no points in (mathbb{R}^2) that make either partial derivative not exist.

Figure (PageIndex{1}) shows the behavior of the surface at the critical point.

Exercise (PageIndex{1}):

Find the critical point of the function (f(x,y)=x^3+2xy−2x−4y.)

**Hint**Calculate (f_x(x,y)) and (f_y(x,y)), then set them equal to zero.

**Answer**The only critical point of (f) is ((2,−5)).

## Determining Global and Local Extrema

The main purpose for determining critical points is to locate relative maxima and minima, as in single-variable calculus. When working with a function of one variable, the definition of a local extremum involves finding an interval around the critical point such that the function value is either greater than or less than all the other function values in that interval. When working with a function of two or more variables, we work with an open disk around the point.

Definition: Global and Local Extrema

Let (z=f(x,y)) be a function of two variables that is defined and continuous on an open set containing the point ((x_0,y_0).) Then (f) has a **local maximum** at ((x_0,y_0)) if

[f(x_0,y_0)≥f(x,y)]

for all points ((x,y)) within some disk centered at ((x_0,y_0)). The number (f(x_0,y_0)) is called a local maximum value. If the preceding inequality holds for every point ((x,y)) in the domain of (f), then (f) has a** global maximum** (also called an **absolute maximum**) at ((x_0,y_0).)

The function (f) has a local minimum at ((x_0,y_0)) if

[f(x_0,y_0)≤f(x,y)]

for all points ((x,y)) within some disk centered at ((x_0,y_0)). The number (f(x_0,y_0)) is called a local minimum value. If the preceding inequality holds for every point ((x,y)) in the domain of (f), then (f) has a **global minimum** (also called an **absolute minimum**) at ((x_0,y_0)).

If (f(x_0,y_0)) is either a local maximum or local minimum value, then it is called a **local extremum** (Figure (PageIndex{2})).

In Calculus 1, we showed that extrema of functions of one variable occur at critical points. The same is true for functions of more than one variable, as stated in the following theorem.

Fermat’s Theorem for Functions of Two Variables

Let (z=f(x,y)) be a function of two variables that is defined and continuous on an open set containing the point ((x_0,y_0)). Suppose (f_x) and (f_y) each exists at ((x_0,y_0)). If f has a local extremum at ((x_0,y_0)), then ((x_0,y_0)) is a critical point of (f).

Consider the function (f(x)=x^3.) This function has a critical point at (x=0), since (f'(0)=3(0)^2=0). However, (f) does not have an extreme value at (x=0). Therefore, the existence of a critical value at (x=x_0) does not guarantee a local extremum at (x=x_0). The same is true for a function of two or more variables. One way this can happen is at a **saddle point**. An example of a saddle point appears in the following figure.

**Figure (PageIndex{3} label{saddlefigure}) : **Graph of the function (z=x^2−y^2). This graph has a saddle point at the origin.

In this graph, the origin is a saddle point. This is because the first partial derivatives of f((x,y)=x^2−y^2) are both equal to zero at this point, but it is neither a maximum nor a minimum for the function. Furthermore the vertical trace corresponding to (y=0) is (z=x^2) (a parabola opening upward), but the vertical trace corresponding to (x=0) is (z=−y^2) (a parabola opening downward). Therefore, it is both a global maximum for one trace and a global minimum for another.

Definition: Saddle Point

Given the function (z=f(x,y),) the point (ig(x_0,y_0,f(x_0,y_0)ig)) is a saddle point if both (f_x(x_0,y_0)=0) and (f_y(x_0,y_0)=0), but (f) does not have a local extremum at ((x_0,y_0).)

## Classifying Critical Points

In order to develop a general method for classifying the behavior of a function of two variables at its critical points, we need to begin by classifying the behavior of quadratic polynomial functions of two variables at their critical points.

To see why this will help us, consider that the quadratic approximation of a function of two variables (its 2nd-degree Taylor polynomial) shares the same first and second partials as the function it approximates at the chosen point of tangency (or center point). Since sharing the same second partials means the two surfaces will share the same concavity (or curvature) at the critical point, this causes these quadratic approximation surfaces to share the same behavior as the function (z = f(x, y)) that they approximate at the point of tangency. In other words, if the original function has a relative maximum at this point, so will the quadratic approximation. If the original function has a relative minimum at this point, so will the quadratic approximation, and if the original function has a saddle point at this point, so will the quadratic approximation.

Now there are really three basic behaviors of a quadratic polynomial in two variables at a point where it has a critical point. It will fit one of the following three forms, often being a transformation of one of the following functions.

- A sum of two squared terms, like (z = x^2 + y^2), producing a paraboloid that opens up and has a relative (absolute) minimum at its vertex. See the plot on the left side of Figure (PageIndex{4}).
- The negative of a sum of two squared terms, like (z = -left(x^2 + y^2 ight)), producing a paraboloid that opens down and has a relative (absolute) maximum at its vertex. See the plot on the right side of Figure (PageIndex{4}).
- The difference of two squared terms, like (z = f(x, y) = x^2 - y^2) or (z = f(x, y) = y^2 - x^2), producing a saddle with a saddle point at its critical point. See Figure (PageIndex{3}).

**Figure (PageIndex{4}): **(z = x^2 + y^2) has an absolute minimum of (0) at ( (0,0)), while (z = -(x^2 + y^2)) has an absolute maximum of (0) at ( (0,0)),

Example (PageIndex{1}): Classifying the critical points of a function

Use completing the square to identify local extrema or saddle points of the following quadratic polynomial functions:

- (f(x,y) = x^2 - 6x + y^2 + 10y + 20)
- (f(x,y) = 12 - 3x^2 - 6x - y^2 + 12y)
- (f(x,y) = x^2 + 8x - 2y^2 + 16y)
- (f(x,y) = x^2 + 6xy + y^2)

**Solution**

a. To determine the critical points of this function, we start by setting the partials of (f) equal to (0). [ egin{align*} ext{Set}quad f_x(x,y) &= 2x -6 = 0 & implies x &= 3 ext{and}quad f_y(x,y) &= 2y + 10 = 0 & implies y &= -5 end{align*} ]We obtain a single critical point with coordinates ( (3, -5) ). Next we need to determine the behavior of the function (f) at this point.

Completing the square, we get: [egin{align*} f(x,y) &= x^2 - 6x + y^2 + 10y + 20 &= x^2 - 6x + 9 + y^2 + 10y + 25 + 20 - 9 - 25 &= (x - 3)^2 + (y + 5)^2 - 14 end{align*}]Notice that this function is really just a translated version of (z = x^2 + y^2), so it is a paraboloid that opens up with its vertex (minimum point) at the critical point ( (3, -5) ). We can argue that it has an absolute minimum value of (-14) at the point ( (3, -5) ), since we are adding squared terms to (-14) and thus cannot get a value less than (-14) for any values of (x) and (y), while we do obtain this minimum value of (-14) at the vertex point ( (3, -5) ).

b. Setting the partials of (f) equal to (0), we obtain: [ egin{align*} ext{Set}quad f_x(x,y) &= -6x -6 = 0 & implies x &= -1 ext{and}quad f_y(x,y) &= -2y + 12 = 0 & implies y &= 6 end{align*} ]We obtain a single critical point with coordinates ( (-1, 6) ). Next we need to determine the behavior of the function (f) at this point.

To complete the square here, we first need to factor out the factors of the squared terms. Doing this and reordering the terms some gives us: [egin{align*} f(x,y) &= 12 - 3x^2 - 6x - y^2 + 12y &= - 3left(x^2 + 2xquadquad ight) - 1left(y^2 - 12y quadquad ight) + 12 &= -3left(x^2 + 2x + 1 ight) - 1left(y^2 - 12y +36 ight) + 12 +3+36 &= 51 - 3(x + 1)^2 - (y - 6)^2 end{align*}]Notice that this function is an elliptic paraboloid that opens down with its vertex (maximum point) at the critical point ( (-1, 6) ). We can argue that it has an absolute maximum value of (51) at the point ( (-1, 6) ), since we are subtracting squared terms from (51) and thus cannot get a value more than (51) for any values of (x) and (y), while we do obtain this minimum value of (51) at the vertex point ( (-1, 6) ).

c. Setting the partials of (f) equal to (0), we obtain: [ egin{align*} ext{Set}quad f_x(x,y) &= 2x + 8 = 0 & implies x &= -4 ext{and}quad f_y(x,y) &= -4y + 16 = 0 & implies y &= 4 end{align*} ]This gives us a critical point with coordinates ( (-4, 4) ). To determine if (f) has a local extremum or saddle point at this point, we complete the square.

Factoring out (-2) from the (y)-squared term gives us: [egin{align*} f(x,y) &= x^2 + 8x - 2y^2 + 16y &= x^2 + 8x +16 - 2left(y^2 - 8y + 16 ight) - 16 + 32 &= (x + 4)^2 - 2(y - 4)^2 +16end{align*}]Since one squared term is positive and one is negative, we see that this function has the form of (z = x^2 - y^2) and so it has a saddle point at its critical point. That is, (f) has a saddle point at ( (-4, 4, 16) ).

d. Setting the partials of (f) equal to (0), we get: [ egin{align*} ext{Set}quad f_x(x,y) &= 2x + 6y = 0 & ext{and}quad f_y(x,y) &= 6x + 2y = 0 & implies y &= -3x end{align*} ]Substituting (-3x) into the first equation for (y) gives us, [egin{align*}2x + 6(-3x) &= 0 -16x &= 0 x &= 0end{align*}]Since (y = -3x), we have ( y = -3(0) = 0), so the critical point of (f) is ( (0,0) ). To determine the behavior of (f) at this critical point, we complete the square.

[egin{align*} f(x,y) &= x^2 + 6xy + y^2 &= (x^2 + 6xy + 9y^2) + y^2 - 9y^2 &= (x + 3y)^2 - 8y^2 end{align*}]As this produces a difference of squares with one positive squared term and the other a negative squared term, we see that (f) takes a form similar to (z = x^2 - y^2) and will have a saddle point at ( (0, 0, 0) ).

Now let's consider the quadratic approximation to a function (z = f(x, y)) centered at a critical point ( (x_0, y_0) ) of this function.

[Q(x, y) = f (x_0, y_0) + f_x(x_0, y_0) (x - x_0) + f_y(x_0, y_0) (y - y_0) + frac{f_{xx}(x_0, y_0)}{2}(x-x_0)^2 + f_{xy}(x_0, y_0)(x-x_0)(y-y_0) + frac{f_{yy}(x_0, y_0)}{2}(y-y_0)^2]

But, since the point ( (x_0, y_0) ), in this case, is a critical point of (f), we know that (f_x(x_0, y_0) = 0) and (f_y(x_0, y_0) = 0).

This allows us to simplify (Q(x, y)) to just:

[Q(x, y) = f (x_0, y_0) + frac{f_{xx}(x_0, y_0)}{2}(x-x_0)^2 + f_{xy}(x_0, y_0)(x-x_0)(y-y_0) + frac{f_{yy}(x_0, y_0)}{2}(y-y_0)^2]

Now we need to complete the square on this quadratic polynomial in two variables to learn how we can classify the behavior of this function at this critical point. Remember that the original function will share the same behavior (max, min, saddle point) as this 2nd-degree Taylor polynomial at this critical point.

To make this process easier, let's make some substitutions. Let's choose to let (u = x - x_0) and (v = y - y_0),

and let [egin{align*} a &= frac{f_{xx}(x_0, y_0)}{2}, b &= f_{xy}(x_0, y_0), c &= frac{f_{yy}(x_0, y_0)}{2} , ext{and} d &= f (x_0, y_0) end{align*}]

Then we need to complete the square on the polynomial: [ Q(x,y) = au^2 +buv + cv^2 + d]

**Completing the square:**

First we factor out the coefficient of (u^2): [= aleft[ u^2 + frac{b}{a}uv + frac{c}{a}v^2 ight] + d]

Next, we complete the square using the first two terms: [= aleft[ left(u^2 + frac{b}{a}uv + left(frac{b}{2a}v ight)^2 ight) + frac{c}{a}v^2 - left(frac{b}{2a}v ight)^2 ight] + d]

Rewriting the perfect square trinomial as the square of a binomial and combining the (v^2) terms yields:

[egin{align*} &= aleft[ left(u+ frac{b}{2a}v
ight)^2 + left(frac{c}{a} - frac{b^2}{4a^2}
ight)v^2
ight] + d

&= aleft[ left(u+ frac{b}{2a}v
ight)^2 + left(frac{4ac}{4a^2} - frac{b^2}{4a^2}
ight)v^2
ight] + d

&= aleft[ left(u+ frac{b}{2a}v
ight)^2 + left(frac{4ac-b^2}{4a^2}
ight)v^2
ight] + d end{align*}]

Note that the shape of this function's graph depends on the sign of the coefficient of (v^2). And the sign of this coefficient is determined only by its numerator, as the denominator is always positive (being a perfect square). This expression, (4ac-b^2), is called the discriminant, as it helps us discriminate (tell the difference between) which behavior the function has at this critical point.

If (D = 4ac-b^2gt 0), then the two squared terms inside the brackets are both positive, and

- if (a = frac{f_{xx}(x_0, y_0)}{2} gt 0), the function (f) opens upwards with a local minimum at the critical point ( (x_0, y_0) ). Note it would be similar to the form, (z = x^2 + y^2).
- if (a = frac{f_{xx}(x_0, y_0)}{2} lt 0), the function (f) opens downwards with a local maximum at the critical point ( (x_0, y_0) ). Note it would be similar to the form, (z = -left(x^2 + y^2 ight)).

If (D = 4ac-b^2 lt 0), then either

- the two squared terms inside the brackets have opposite signs (meaning (f) is concave up along a line parallel to the (x)-axis and concave down along a line parallel to the (y)-axis, or vice-versa) or
- the (b^2) term, representing the square of the mixed partial (f_{xy}(x_0, y_0)), is larger than the positive product of the two 2nd-partials (f_{xx}(x_0, y_0)) and (f_{yy}(x_0, y_0)). This means that even if the surface is concave up in both (x)- and (y)-directions, or concave down in both (x)- and (y)-directions, a large mixed partial can offset these and cause the surface to have a saddle point at the point ((x_0, y_0)).

In either case, the quadratic polynomial will be in the form of (z = x^2 - y^2) or (z = y^2 - x^2) (i.e., it will be the difference of two squared terms), so we get a saddle point at the critical point ( (x_0, y_0) ).

But if (D = 4ac-b^2 = 0), the quadratic polynomial reduces to (Q(x,y) = aleft(u+ frac{b}{2a}v ight)^2 + d), whose graph is a parabolic cylinder, so the behavior of the function is not clear at the critical point ( (x_0, y_0) ).

Now remembering the values of the constants (a), (b), and (c) from above, we see that: [egin{align*} D(x_0, y_0) &= 4frac{f_{xx}(x_0, y_0)}{2}frac{f_{yy}(x_0, y_0)}{2} - ig(f_{xy}(x_0, y_0)ig)^2 &= f_{xx}(x_0, y_0)f_{yy}(x_0, y_0) - ig(f_{xy}(x_0, y_0)ig)^2 end{align*}]

This formula is called the **Second Partials Test**, and it can be used to classify the behavior of any function at its critical points, as long as its second partials exist there and as long as the value of this discriminate is not zero.

## The Second Partials Test

The second derivative test for a function of one variable provides a method for determining whether an extremum occurs at a critical point of a function. When extending this result to a function of two variables, an issue arises related to the fact that there are, in fact, four different second-order partial derivatives, although equality of mixed partials reduces this to three. The second partials test for a function of two variables, stated in the following theorem, uses a **discriminant **(D) that replaces (f''(x_0)) in the second derivative test for a function of one variable.

second partials Test

Let (z=f(x,y)) be a function of two variables for which the first- and second-order partial derivatives are continuous on some disk containing the point ((x_0,y_0)). Suppose (f_x(x_0,y_0)=0) and (f_y(x_0,y_0)=0.) Define the quantity

[D=f_{xx}(x_0,y_0)f_{yy}(x_0,y_0)−ig(f_{xy}(x_0,y_0)ig)^2.]

Then:

- If (D>0) and (f_{xx}(x_0,y_0)>0), then (f) is concave up at this critical point, so (f) has a local minimum at ((x_0,y_0)).
- If (D>0) and (f_{xx}(x_0,y_0)<0), then (f) is concave down at this critical point, so (f) has a local maximum at ((x_0,y_0)).
- If (D<0), then (f) has a saddle point at ((x_0,y_0)).
- If (D=0), then the test is inconclusive.

See Figure (PageIndex{4}).

To apply the second partials test, it is necessary that we first find the critical points of the function. There are several steps involved in the entire procedure, which are outlined in a problem-solving strategy.

Problem-Solving Strategy: Using the second partials Test for Functions of Two Variables

Let (z=f(x,y)) be a function of two variables for which the first- and second-order partial derivatives are continuous on some disk containing the point ((x_0,y_0).) To apply the second partials test to find local extrema, use the following steps:

- Determine the critical points ((x_0,y_0)) of the function (f) where (f_x(x_0,y_0)=f_y(x_0,y_0)=0.) If you find any critical points where at least one of the partial derivatives does not exist, you will need to find and justify extrema in another way, as you can't use the second partials test.
- Calculate the discriminant (D=f_{xx}(x_0,y_0)f_{yy}(x_0,y_0)−ig(f_{xy}(x_0,y_0)ig)^2) for each critical point of (f).
- Apply the four cases of the test to determine whether each critical point is a local maximum, local minimum, or saddle point, or whether the test is inconclusive. If the test is inconclusive, you will need to analyze and classify the behavior at the critical point another way.

Example (PageIndex{2}): Using the second partials Test

Find the critical points for each of the following functions, and use the second partials test to find any local extrema or saddle points.

- (f(x,y)=4x^2+9y^2+8x−36y+24)
- (g(x,y)=dfrac{1}{3}x^3+y^2+2xy−6x−3y+4)

**Solution:**

a. **Step 1** of the problem-solving strategy requires us to find the critical points of (f). To do this, we first calculate (f_x(x,y)) and (f_y(x,y)) and then set each of them equal to zero:

[egin{align*} f_x(x,y)&=8x+8 f_y(x,y)&=18y−36. end{align*}]

Setting them equal to zero yields the system of equations

[egin{align*} 8x+8&=0 18y−36&=0. end{align*}]

The solution to this system is (x=−1) and (y=2). Therefore ((−1,2)) is the only critical point of (f).

**Step 2** of the problem-solving strategy involves calculating (D.) To do this, we first calculate the second partial derivatives of (f:)

[egin{align*} f_{xx}(x,y)&=8 f_{xy}(x,y)&=0 f_{yy}(x,y)&=18. end{align*}]

Therefore, (D(-1,2)=f_{xx}(−1,2)f_{yy}(−1,2)−ig(f_{xy}(−1,2)ig)^2=(8)(18)−(0)^2=144>0.)

**Step 3** tells us to apply the four cases of the test to classify the function's behavior at this critical point.

Since (D>0) and (f_{xx}(−1,2)=8>0,;f) is concave up, so (f) has a local minimum of (f(-1,2) = -16) at ((−1,2)), as shown in the following figure. (Note that this corresponds to case 1 of the second partials test.)

**Figure (PageIndex{5}) : **The function (f(x,y)) has a local minimum at ((−1,2,−16).) Note the scale on the (y)-axis in this plot is in thousands.

b. For **step 1**, we first calculate (g_x(x,y)) and (g_y(x,y)), then set each of them equal to zero:

[egin{align*} g_x(x,y)&=x^2+2y−6 g_y(x,y)&=2y+2x−3. end{align*}]

Setting them equal to zero yields the system of equations

[egin{align*} x^2+2y−6&=0 2y+2x−3&=0. end{align*}]

To solve this system, first solve the second equation for (y). This gives (y=dfrac{3−2x}{2}). Substituting this into the first equation gives

[egin{align*} x^2+3−2x−6&=0 x^2−2x−3&=0 (x−3)(x+1)&=0. end{align*}]

Therefore, (x=−1) or (x=3). Substituting these values into the equation (y=dfrac{3−2x}{2}) yields the critical points (left(−1,frac{5}{2} ight)) and (left(3,−frac{3}{2} ight)).

**Step 2** involves calculating the second partial derivatives of (g):

[egin{align*} g_{xx}(x,y)&=2x g_{xy}(x,y)&=2 g_{yy}(x,y)&=2. end{align*}]

Next, we substitute each critical point into the discriminant formula:

[egin{align*} Dleft(−1, frac{5}{2} ight)&=(2(−1))(2)−(2)^2=−4−4=−8 Dleft(3,− frac{3}{2} ight)&=(2(3))(2)−(2)^2=12−4=8. end{align*}]

In **step 3**, we use the second partials test to classify the behavior of the function at each of its critical points.

At point (left(−1,frac{5}{2} ight)), we see that (Dleft(−1, frac{5}{2} ight)=-8<0) (case 3 of the test), which means that (f) has a saddle point at the point (left(−1,frac{5}{2} ight)). The coordinates of this saddle point are (left(−1,frac{5}{2}, frac{41}{12} ight)).

Applying the theorem to point (left(3,−frac{3}{2} ight)) leads to case (1). That is, since (Dleft(3,- frac{3}{2} ight)=8>0) and (g_{xx}left(3,- frac{3}{2} ight)=2(3)=6>0), we know that (g) is concave up at this critical point, so (g) has a local minimum of (-frac{29}{4}) at the point (left(3,−frac{3}{2} ight)), as shown in the following figure.

Note: Sometimes it can be helpful to find a general formula for (D). For example, here we could have used the following formula:

[egin{align*} D(x_0, y_0) &=g_{xx}(x_0,y_0)g_{yy}(x_0,y_0)−ig(g_{xy}(x_0,y_0)ig)^2 &=(2x_0)(2)−2^2 &=4x_0−4.end{align*}]

Then we would have:

[egin{align*} Dleft(−1, frac{5}{2} ight)&=4(-1)-4=−4−4=−8 Dleft(3,− frac{3}{2} ight)&=4(3)-4=12−4=8. end{align*}]

Note that the final values of the discriminant at each critical point are the same.

Exercise (PageIndex{2})

Use the second partials to find the local extrema of the function

[ f(x,y)=x^3+2xy−6x−4y^2. onumber]

**Hint**Follow the problem-solving strategy for applying the second partials test.

**Answer**(left(frac{4}{3},frac{1}{3} ight)) is a saddle point, (left(−frac{3}{2},−frac{3}{8} ight)) is a local maximum.

- A critical point of the function (f(x,y)) is any point ((x_0,y_0)) where either (f_x(x_0,y_0)=f_y(x_0,y_0)=0), or at least one of (f_x(x_0,y_0)) and (f_y(x_0,y_0)) do not exist.
- A saddle point is a point ((x_0,y_0)) where (f_x(x_0,y_0)=f_y(x_0,y_0)=0), but ((x_0,y_0)) is neither a maximum nor a minimum at that point.
- To find extrema of functions of two variables, first find the critical points, then calculate the discriminant and apply the second partials test.

## Key Equations

**Discriminant**

(D=f_{xx}(x_0,y_0)f_{yy}(x_0,y_0)−(f_{xy}(x_0,y_0))^2)

## Glossary

**critical point of a function of two variables**the point ((x_0,y_0)) is called a critical point of (f(x,y)) if one of the two following conditions holds:

1. (f_x(x_0,y_0)=f_y(x_0,y_0)=0)

2. At least one of (f_x(x_0,y_0)) and (f_y(x_0,y_0)) do not exist

**discriminant**- the discriminant of the function (f(x,y)) is given by the formula (D=f_{xx}(x_0,y_0)f_{yy}(x_0,y_0)−(f_{xy}(x_0,y_0))^2)

**saddle point**- given the function (z=f(x,y),) the point ((x_0,y_0,f(x_0,y_0))) is a saddle point if both (f_x(x_0,y_0)=0) and (f_y(x_0,y_0)=0), but (f) does not have a local extremum at ((x_0,y_0))

## Contributors

Gilbert Strang (MIT) and Edwin “Jed” Herman (Harvey Mudd) with many contributing authors. This content by OpenStax is licensed with a CC-BY-SA-NC 4.0 license. Download for free at http://cnx.org.

- Paul Seeburger (Monroe Community College) edited and adapted this section extensively.

Paul also wrote the entire subsection titled Classifying Critical Points.

## How to optimize a function with several variables

I need to develop code to optimize a set or variables based on the following conditions.

- I don't have the source of function.
- The function gets a point (x,y) and generate a mapped point (x',y') using a set of parameters (around 10 parameter)(Mapping_Function)..
- I have an array of points with desire mapped ones (input[N], mapped[N]).
- I have a function that can calculate distance between two points (for example input point and mapped one). This function is in fact Euclidean distance (GetAbsError).
- I need to wrote code to optimize parameters to function so the distance between input points and mapped one became minimized (Optimize_Parameters).

The sample code is as follow:

I need to write Optimize_Parameters function to do the optimization.

What library can I use to write this function?

Where can I find more information on this?

I can write it in c++ or c#, but prefer to do this in c++ as it is faster.

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## 2 Answers 2

My other answer involved missing almost all of the actual question, so let's start afresh.

Let's set $h(x, y) = f(x, y) + g(x, y)$. The first thing to acknowledge is that it is possible for there to be no local extrema of $h$ - for a simple example, let $f(x, y) = -x$ and $g(x, y) = 2x$, then $h(x, y) = x$ has no critical points (although you can state that on the boundary of the region you defined, it does have a supremum).

If the function does have a maximum or minimum point, it will occur when the *partial derivatives* are both zero (or on the boundary, but since you've defined an open region that's not a valid possibility in this case). So you differentiate with respect to $x$, and find when that derivative is zero (possibly as a function of both $x$ and $y$), and you do the same for $y$, and you work out what point or points those could be, and then you can do a few different things to see whether those points are maxima, minima, or something else.

Your method kind of works, although it will only find an approximate point (since you can only check finitely many $x$ values) and how well you do will depend on how well-behaved the function is outside of the grid of $x$ and $y$ values you are checking.

An alternative approximation method is *gradient descent*, in which you pick a starting point, work out the gradient of the function at that point, and "walk" a bit in the direction of that gradient until you find yourself circling the same point, which is at least a local critical point if not the actual maximum/minimum.

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**MATH 6453. Geometric Topology. 3 Credit Hours.**

Characteristic classes, Morse theory, three-manifolds, four-manifolds, symplectic and contact manifolds, knot theory.

**MATH 6455. Differential Geometry I. 3 Credit Hours.**

Core topics in differential, including: Lie groups, curvature, and relations with topology.

**MATH 6456. Differential Geometry II. 3 Credit Hours.**

Introduces students to topics of current interest in geometry.

**MATH 6514. Industrial Mathematics I. 3 Credit Hours.**

Applied mathematics techniques to solve real-world problems. Topics include mathematical modeling, asymptotic analysis, differential equations and scientific computation. Prepares the student for MATH 6515.

**MATH 6580. Introduction to Hilbert Spaces. 3 Credit Hours.**

Geometry, convergence, and structure of linear operators in infinite dimensional spaces. Applications to science and engineering, including integral equations and ordinary partial differential equations.

**MATH 6583. Integral Equations and Transforms. 3 Credit Hours.**

Volterra and Fredholm linear integral equations relation to differential equations solution methods Fourier, Laplace, and Mellin transforms applications to boundary value problems and integral equations.

**MATH 6584. Special Functions of Higher Mathematics. 3 Credit Hours.**

Gamma function exponential function orthogonal polynomials Bessel, Legendre, and hypergeometric functions application to singular ordinary differential equations and separation of variables for partial differential equations.

**MATH 6635. Numerical Methods in Finance. 3 Credit Hours.**

Basic numerical and simulation techniques used in the pricing of derivative securities and in related problems in finance. Some programming experience required.

**MATH 6640. Introduction to Numerical Methods for Partial Differential Equations. 3 Credit Hours.**

Introduction to the implementation and analysis of numerical algorithms for the numerical solution of the classic partial differential equations of science and engineering. Must have knowledge of a computer programming language, familiarity with partial differential equations and elements of scientific computing.

**MATH 6641. Advanced Numerical Methods for Partial Differential Equations. 3 Credit Hours.**

Analysis and implementation of numerical methods for nonlinear partial differential equations including elliptic, hyperbolic, and/or parabolic problems. Must have knowledge of classic linear partial differential equations and exposure to numerical methods for partial differential equations at the level of MATH 6640 or numerical linear algebra at the level of MATH 6643.

**MATH 6643. Numerical Linear Algebra. 3 Credit Hours.**

Introduction to the numerical solution of the classic problems of linear algebra including linear systems, least squares, Singular value decomposition, eigenvalue problems. Crosslisted with CSE 6643.

**MATH 6644. Iterative Methods for Systems of Equations. 3 Credit Hours.**

Iterative methods for linear and nonlinear systems of equations including Jacobi, G-S, SOR, CG, multigrid, Newton quasi-Newton, updating, and gradient-based methods. Crosslisted with CSE 6644.

**MATH 6645. Numerical Approximation Theory. 3 Credit Hours.**

Theoretical and computational aspects of polynomial, rational, trigonometric, spline, and wavelet approximation.

**MATH 6646. Numerical Methods for Ordinary Differential Equations. 3 Credit Hours.**

Analysis and implementation of numerical methods for initial and two-point boundary value problems for ordinary differential equations.

**MATH 6647. Numerical Methods for Dynamical Systems. 3 Credit Hours.**

Approximation of the dynamical structure of a differential equation and preservation of dynamical structure under discretization. Must be familiar with dynamical systems and numerical methods for initial and boundary value problems in ordinary differential equations.

**MATH 6701. Math Methods of Applied Sciences I. 3 Credit Hours.**

Review of linear algebra and ordinary differential equations, brief introduction to functions of a complex variable.

**MATH 6702. Math Methods of Applied Sciences II. 3 Credit Hours.**

Review of vector calculus and its applications to partial differential equations.

**MATH 6705. Modeling and Dynamics. 3 Credit Hours.**

Mathematical methods for solving problems in the life sciences. Models-based course on basic facts from the theory of ordinary differential equations and numerical methods of their solution. Introduction to the control theory, diffusion theory, maximization, minimization and curve fitting. Math majors may not use this course toward any degree in the School of Mathematics.

**MATH 6710. Numerical Methods in Computational Science and Engineering I. 3 Credit Hours.**

Introduction to numerical algorithms widely used in computational science and engineering. Numerical linear algebra, linear programming, and applications. Crosslisted with CSE 6710.

**MATH 6711. Numerical Methods in Computational Science and Engineering II. 3 Credit Hours.**

Efficient numerical techniques for solving partial differential equations and large-scale systems of equations arising from discretization of partial differential equations or variational problems in applications in science and engineering. Crosslisted with CSE 6711.

**MATH 6759. Stochastic Processes in Finance I. 3 Credit Hours.**

Mathematical modeling of financial markets, derivative securities pricing, and portfolio optimization. Concepts from probability and mathematics are introduced as needed. Crosslisted with ISYE 6759.

**MATH 6761. Stochastic Processes I. 3 Credit Hours.**

Discrete time Markov chains, Poisson processes, and renewal processes. Transient and limiting behavior. Average cost and utility measures of systems. Algorithms for computing performance measures. Modeling of inventories, and flows in manufacturing and computer networks. Crosslisted with ISYE 6761.

**MATH 6762. Stochastic Processes II. 3 Credit Hours.**

Continuous time Markov chains. Uniformization, transient and limiting behavior. Brownian motion and martingales. Optional sampling and convergence. Modeling of inventories, finance, flows in manufacturing and computer networks. Crosslisted with ISYE 6762.

**MATH 6767. Design and Implementation of Systems to Support. 3 Credit Hours.**

Computational Finance Introduction to large scale system design to support computational finance for options, stocks, or other financial instruments. Some programming experience, and previous exposure to stocks, bonds, and options required. Crosslisted with ISYE 6767.

**MATH 6769. Fixed Income Securities. 3 Credit Hours.**

Description, institutional features, and mathematical modeling of fixed income securities. Use of both deterministic and stochastic models. Crosslisted with ISYE 6769.

**MATH 6783. Statistical Techniques of Financial Data Analysis. 3 Credit Hours.**

Fundamentals of statistical inference for models used in the modern analysis of financial data. Crosslisted with ISYE 6783.

**MATH 6785. The Practice of Quantitative and Computational Finance. 3 Credit Hours.**

Case studies, visiting lecturers from financial institutions, student group projects of an advanced nature, and student reports, all centered around quantitative and computational finance. Crosslisted with ISYE and MGT 6785.

**MATH 6793. Advanced Topics in Quantitative and Computational Finance. 3 Credit Hours.**

Advanced foundational material and analysis techniques in quantitative and computational finance. Crosslisted with ISYE 6793.

**MATH 6XXX. Mathematics Elective. 1-21 Credit Hours.**

**MATH 7000. Master's Thesis. 1-21 Credit Hours.**

**MATH 7012. Enumerative Combinatorics. 3 Credit Hours.**

Fundamental methods of enumeration and asymptotic analysis, including the use of inclusion/exclusion, generating functions, and recurrence relations. Applications to strings over a finite alphabet and graphs.

**MATH 7014. Advanced Graph Theory. 3 Credit Hours.**

Advanced topics in graph theory. Selection of arguments varies every year.

**MATH 7016. Combinatorics. 3 Credit Hours.**

Fundamental combinatorial structures including hypergraphs, transversal sets, colorings, Sperner families, intersecting families, packings and coverings, perfect graphs, and Ramsey theory. Algebraic and topological methods, applications.

**MATH 7018. Probabilistic Methods in Combinatorics. 3 Credit Hours.**

Applications of probabilistic techniques in discrete mathematics, including classical ideas using expectation and variance as well as modern tools, such as martingale and correlation inequalities.

**MATH 7244. Stochastic Processes and Stochastic Calculus I. 3 Credit Hours.**

An introduction to the Ito stochastic calculus and stochastic differential equations through a development of continuous-time martingales and Markov processes. First of two courses.

**MATH 7245. Stochastic Processes and Stochastic Calculus II. 3 Credit Hours.**

An introduction to the Ito stochastic calculus and stochastic differential equations through a development of continuous-time martingales and Markov processes. Continuation of MATH 7244.

**MATH 7251. High-dimensional probability. 3 Credit Hours.**

The goal of this PhD level graduate course is to provide a rigorous introduction to the methods of high-dimensional probability.

**MATH 7252. High-dimensional statistics. 3 Credit Hours.**

The goal of this PhD level graduate course is to provide a rigorous introduction to the methods of high-dimensional statistics.

**MATH 7334. Operator Theory. 3 Credit Hours.**

Theory of linear operators on Hilbert space. Spectral theory of bounded and unbounded operators. Applications.

**MATH 7337. Harmonic Analysis. 3 Credit Hours.**

Fourier analysis in Euclidean space. Basic topics including L1 and L2 theory advanced topics such as distribution theory, uncertainty, Littlewood-Paley theory.

**MATH 7338. Functional Analysis. 3 Credit Hours.**

Topics include the Hahn-Banach theorems, the Baire Category theorem and its consequences, duality in Banach spaces, locally convex spaces, and additional topics.

**MATH 7510. Graph Algorithms. 3 Credit Hours.**

Algorithms for graph problems such as maximum flow, covering, matching, coloring, planarity, minimum cuts, shortest paths, and connectivity. Crosslisted with ISYE 7510 and CS 7510.

**MATH 7581. Calculus of Variations. 3 Credit Hours.**

Minimization of functionals, Euler-Lagrange equations, sufficient conditions for a minimum geodesic, isoperometric, and time of transit problems variational principles of mechanics applications to control theory.

**MATH 7586. Tensor Analysis. 3 Credit Hours.**

Review of linear algebra, multilinear algebra, algebra of tensors, co- and contravariant tensors, tensors in Riemann spaces, geometrical interpretation of skew tensors.

**MATH 7999. Preparation for Doctoral Comprehensive Examination. 1-21 Credit Hours.**

**MATH 8305. Aural-Oral English Skills for Math ESL International Teaching Assistants. 2 Credit Hours.**

Enhancement of English listening/speaking skills for SOM international graduate students, post-docs, and new faculty who speak English as their second language (ESL) and who will be teaching undergraduate students.

**MATH 8306. Academic Communication for Intermediate ESL Math International Teaching Assistants. 2 Credit Hours.**

Continued enhancement of English listening/speaking skills for current and future SOM graduate international teaching assistants and international lead instructors who speak English as their second language (ESL).

**MATH 8307. Academic Communication for Advanced ESL Math International Teaching Assistants. 1 Credit Hour.**

Continued enhancement of English listening/speaking skills for current and future SOM graduate international teaching assistants and international lead instructors who speak English as their second language (ESL).

**MATH 8801. Special Topics. 1 Credit Hour.**

This course enables the School of Mathematics to comply with requests for courses in selected topics.

**MATH 8802. Special Topics. 2 Credit Hours.**

This course enables the School of Mathematics to comply with requests for courses in selected topics.

**MATH 8803. Special Topics. 3 Credit Hours.**

This course enables the School of Mathematics to comply with requests for courses in selected topics.

**MATH 8804. Special Topics. 4 Credit Hours.**

**MATH 8805. Special Topics. 5 Credit Hours.**

This course enables the school of Mathematics to comply with requests for courses in selected topics.

**MATH 8811. Special Topics. 1 Credit Hour.**

**MATH 8812. Special Topics. 2 Credit Hours.**

**MATH 8813. Special Topics. 3 Credit Hours.**

**MATH 8814. Special Topics. 4 Credit Hours.**

**MATH 8815. Special Topics. 5 Credit Hours.**

**MATH 8821. Special Topics. 1 Credit Hour.**

**MATH 8822. Special Topics. 2 Credit Hours.**

**MATH 8823. Special Topics. 3 Credit Hours.**

**MATH 8824. Special Topics. 4 Credit Hours.**

**MATH 8825. Special Topics. 5 Credit Hours.**

**MATH 8831. Special Topics. 1 Credit Hour.**

**MATH 8832. Special Topics. 2 Credit Hours.**

**MATH 8833. Special Topics. 3 Credit Hours.**

**MATH 8834. Special Topics. 4 Credit Hours.**

**MATH 8835. Special Topics. 5 Credit Hours.**

**MATH 8841. Special Topics. 1 Credit Hour.**

**MATH 8842. Special Topics. 2 Credit Hours.**

**MATH 8843. Special Topics. 3 Credit Hours.**

**MATH 8844. Special Topics. 4 Credit Hours.**

**MATH 8845. Special Topics. 5 Credit Hours.**

**MATH 8851. Special Topics. 1 Credit Hour.**

**MATH 8852. Special Topics. 2 Credit Hours.**

**MATH 8853. Special Topics. 3 Credit Hours.**

This course enables the school of Mathematics to comply with requests for courses in selected topics.

**MATH 8854. Special Topics. 4 Credit Hours.**

**MATH 8855. Special Topics. 5 Credit Hours.**

**MATH 8863. Advanced Topics in Graph Theory. 3 Credit Hours.**

Selection of topics vary with each offering.

**MATH 8873. Special Topics. 3 Credit Hours.**

**MATH 8900. Special Problems. 1-21 Credit Hours.**

**MATH 8901. Special Problems. 1-21 Credit Hours.**

**MATH 8902. Special Problems. 1-21 Credit Hours.**

**MATH 8903. Special Problems. 1-21 Credit Hours.**

**MATH 8997. Teaching Assistantship. 1-9 Credit Hours.**

For students holding graduate teaching assistantships.

**MATH 8998. Research Assistantship. 1-9 Credit Hours.**

For students holding graduate research assistantships.

**MATH 9000. Doctoral Thesis. 1-21 Credit Hours.**

**Georgia Institute of Technology**

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## Curve Fitting via Optimization

where the times are t i and the responses are y i , i = 1 , … , n . The sum of squared errors is the objective function.

### Create Sample Data

Usually, you have data from measurements. For this example, create artificial data based on a model with A = 4 0 and λ = 0 . 5 , with normally distributed pseudorandom errors.

### Write Objective Function

Write a function that accepts parameters A and lambda and data tdata and ydata , and returns the sum of squared errors for the model y ( t ) . Put all the variables to optimize ( A and lambda ) in a single vector variable ( x ). For more information, see Minimizing Functions of Several Variables.

Save this objective function as a file named sseval.m on your MATLAB® path.

The fminsearch solver applies to functions of one variable, x . However, the sseval function has three variables. The extra variables tdata and ydata are not variables to optimize, but are data for the optimization. Define the objective function for fminsearch as a function of x alone:

For information about including extra parameters such as tdata and ydata , see Parameterizing Functions.

### Find the Best Fitting Parameters

Start from a random positive set of parameters x0 , and have fminsearch find the parameters that minimize the objective function.

The result bestx is reasonably near the parameters that generated the data, A = 40 and lambda = 0.5 .

### Check the Fit Quality

To check the quality of the fit, plot the data and the resulting fitted response curve. Create the response curve from the returned parameters of your model.

## 3 Answers 3

This has nothing to do with convexity nor with the method used to determine minima it is purely a matter of logic and order. It is with minimax problems that the real difficulties arise.

Note that your function $g$ depends only on the variable $y$. I'd argue as follows, neglecting questions of existence:

Given $f:quad X imes Y o

Now we know on each " horizontal" $y=<
m const.>$ the minimal value taken by $f$ and the set of points where this minimal value is taken. We proceed to the second step: Put $mu:=min_

**Edit:** *Side note concerning convexity with respect to several variables*

In the situation considered by the OP the function $f$ is only separately convex in each of the two variables $x$ and $y$. In this case neither the function $f$ nor $g$ can be expected to be convex. Consider the example $f(x,y):=x^2-4xy+y^2 .$ Then $f_

## Properties

### IndexNames — Index names '' (default) | cell array of strings | cell array of character vectors

Index names, specified as a cell array of strings or character vectors. For information on using index names, see Named Index for Optimization Variables.

**Data Types:** cell

### Variables — Optimization variables in object structure of OptimizationVariable objects

This property is read-only.

Optimization variables in the object, specified as a structure of OptimizationVariable objects.