Welcome to Week 3! This week we will introduce one of the most important and influential methods in optimization: Newton’s method. Newton’s method uses “second order” information, which means that it makes use of the second derivative of a function. It is based on approximating a function of interest by a quadratic function. Besides Newton’s method, we will have a first look at Machine Learning, in particular classification problems, and see how these can be approached using gradient descent.

Learning outcomes

  • Understand Newton’s method and the conditions under which it gives quadratic convergence.
  • Know how to formulate a machine learning problem and how optimization plays a role in it.

Tasks and Materials

  • The lecture notes are available in the Lectures section.
  • Work through the problems from Part A and Part B. Part A will be discussed in class.

Further reading


  1. Stephen Boyd and Lieven Vandenberghe. Convex Optimization. Cambridge University Press, 2004.
  2. Jorge Nocedal and Stephen J.Wright. Numerical Optimization. Springer, 2006.
  3. Yuri Nesterov. Introductory Lectures on Convex Optimization. A basic course. Springer, 2004.