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Symmetry groups, semidefinite programs, and sums of squares


K. Gatermann, P.A. Parrilo

Preprint submitted to Elsevier Science

We investigate the representation of symmetric polynomials as a sum of squares. Since this task is solved using semidefinite programming tools we explore the geometric, algebraic, and computational implications of the presence of discrete symmetries in semidefinite programs. It is shown that symmetry exploitation allows a significant reduction in both matrix size and number of decision variables. This result is applied to semidefinite programs arising from the computation of sum of squares decompositions for multivariate polynomials. The results, reinterpreted from an invariant-theoretic viewpoint, provide a novel representation of a class of nonnegative symmetric polynomials. The main theorem states that an invariant sum of squares polynomial is a sum of inner products of pairs of matrices, whose entries are invariant polynomials. In these pairs, one of the matrices is computed based on the real irreducible representations of the group, and the other is a sum of squares matrix. The reduction techniques enable the numerical solution of large-scale instances, otherwise computationally infeasible to solve.


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% Autogenerated BibTeX entry
@Article { GatPar:2002:IFA_1707,
    author={K. Gatermann and P.A. Parrilo},
    title={{Symmetry groups, semidefinite programs, and sums of squares}},
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