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Bulletin of the American Mathematical Society

The Bulletin publishes expository articles on contemporary mathematical research, written in a way that gives insight to mathematicians who may not be experts in the particular topic. The Bulletin also publishes reviews of selected books in mathematics and short articles in the Mathematical Perspectives section, both by invitation only.

ISSN 1088-9485 (online) ISSN 0273-0979 (print)

The 2020 MCQ for Bulletin of the American Mathematical Society is 0.84.

What is MCQ? The Mathematical Citation Quotient (MCQ) measures journal impact by looking at citations over a five-year period. Subscribers to MathSciNet may click through for more detailed information.


The interior-point revolution in optimization: History, recent developments, and lasting consequences
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by Margaret H. Wright PDF
Bull. Amer. Math. Soc. 42 (2005), 39-56 Request permission


Interior methods are a pervasive feature of the optimization landscape today, but it was not always so. Although interior-point techniques, primarily in the form of barrier methods, were widely used during the 1960s for problems with nonlinear constraints, their use for the fundamental problem of linear programming was unthinkable because of the total dominance of the simplex method. During the 1970s, barrier methods were superseded, nearly to the point of oblivion, by newly emerging and seemingly more efficient alternatives such as augmented Lagrangian and sequential quadratic programming methods. By the early 1980s, barrier methods were almost universally regarded as a closed chapter in the history of optimization. This picture changed dramatically in 1984, when Narendra Karmarkar announced a fast polynomial-time interior method for linear programming; in 1985, a formal connection was established between his method and classical barrier methods. Since then, interior methods have continued to transform both the theory and practice of constrained optimization. We present a condensed, unavoidably incomplete look at classical material and recent research about interior methods.
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Additional Information
  • Margaret H. Wright
  • Affiliation: Computer Science Department, Courant Institute of Mathematical Sciences, New York University, 251 Mercer Street, New York, New York 10012
  • Email:
  • Received by editor(s): July 9, 2004
  • Received by editor(s) in revised form: August 17, 2004
  • Published electronically: September 21, 2004
  • Additional Notes: Lecture presented at the AMS Special Session on Current Events, Joint Mathematics Meetings, Phoenix, AZ, January 9, 2004
  • © Copyright 2004 American Mathematical Society
  • Journal: Bull. Amer. Math. Soc. 42 (2005), 39-56
  • MSC (2000): Primary 49M37, 65K05, 90C30
  • DOI:
  • MathSciNet review: 2115066