A simple and efficient algorithm for nonlinear model predictive control

Lorenzo Stella, Andreas Themelis, Pantelis Sopasakis, Panagiotis Patrinos

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaperpeer-review

29 Citations (Scopus)


We present PANOC, a new algorithm for solving optimal control problems arising in nonlinear model predictive control (NMPC). A usual approach to this type of problems is
sequential quadratic programming (SQP), which requires the solution of a quadratic program at every iteration and, consequently, inner iterative procedures. As a result, when the problem is ill-conditioned or the prediction horizon is large, each outer iteration becomes computationally very expensive.

We propose a line-search algorithm that combines forwardbackward iterations (FB) and Newton-type steps over the recently introduced forward-backward envelope (FBE), a continuous, real-valued, exact merit function for the original problem. The curvature information of Newton-type methods enables asymptotic superlinear rates under mild assumptions at the limit point, and the proposed algorithm is based on very simple operations: access to first-order information of the cost and dynamics and low-cost direct linear algebra. No inner iterative procedure nor Hessian evaluation is required, making our approach computationally simpler than SQP methods. The low memory requirements and simple implementation make our method particularly suited for embedded NMPC applications.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages6
Publication statusPublished - 2017
Event56th Annual Conference on Decision and Control (CDC'17) - Melbourne, Australia
Duration: 12 Dec 201717 Dec 2017
Conference number: 56


Conference56th Annual Conference on Decision and Control (CDC'17)
Abbreviated titleCDC'17
Internet address


  • convergence of numerical methods
  • Hessian matrices
  • iterative methods
  • Newton methods
  • nonlinear control system
  • optimal control
  • predictive control
  • nonlinear model predictive control
  • sequential quadratic programming
  • line-search algorithm
  • forward-backward envelope
  • navigation
  • Obstacle avoidance
  • gradient methods
  • optimization
  • numerical optimization
  • robotics
  • mechatronics


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