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Numerical Solution of Optimal Control Problems with Constant Control Delays


  • Ulrich Brandt-Pollmann
  • Ralph Winkler


  • Sebastian Sager
  • Ulf Moslener
  • Johannes Schlöder


We investigate a class of optimal control problems that exhibit constant exogenously given delays in the control in the equation of motion of the differential states. Therefore, we formulate an exemplary optimal control problem with one stock and one control variable and review some analytic properties of an optimal solution. However, analytical considerations are quite limited in case of delayed optimal control problems. In order to overcome these limits, we reformulate the problem and apply direct numerical methods to calculate approximate solutions that give a better understanding of this class of optimization problems. In particular, we present two possibilities to reformulate the delayed optimal control problem into an instantaneous optimal control problem and show how these can be solved numerically with a state-of-the-art direct method by applying Bock’s direct multiple shooting algorithm. We further demonstrate the strength of our approach by two economic examples.
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Suggested Citation

  • Ulrich Brandt-Pollmann & Ralph Winkler & Sebastian Sager & Ulf Moslener & Johannes Schlöder, 2008. "Numerical Solution of Optimal Control Problems with Constant Control Delays," Computational Economics, Springer;Society for Computational Economics, vol. 31(2), pages 181-206, March.
  • Handle: RePEc:kap:compec:v:31:y:2008:i:2:p:181-206 DOI: 10.1007/s10614-007-9113-3

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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Balistreri, Edward J. & Hillberry, Russell H. & Rutherford, Thomas F., 2011. "Structural estimation and solution of international trade models with heterogeneous firms," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 83(2), pages 95-108, March.
    2. Ralph Winkler, 2008. "Optimal control of pollutants with delayed stock accumulation," CER-ETH Economics working paper series 08/91, CER-ETH - Center of Economic Research (CER-ETH) at ETH Zurich.
    3. Cyril Bourgeois & Pierre-Alain Jayet, 2010. "Revisited water-oriented relationships between a set of farmers and an aquifer: accounting for lag effect," Working Papers 2010/06, INRA, Economie Publique.
    4. Rădulescu, I.R. & Cândea, D. & Halanay, A., 2016. "Optimal control analysis of a leukemia model under imatinib treatment," Mathematics and Computers in Simulation (MATCOM), Elsevier, vol. 121(C), pages 1-11.

    More about this item


    Delayed differential equations; Delayed optimal control; Numerical optimization; C63; C61;

    JEL classification:

    • C63 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Mathematical Methods; Programming Models; Mathematical and Simulation Modeling - - - Computational Techniques
    • C61 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Mathematical Methods; Programming Models; Mathematical and Simulation Modeling - - - Optimization Techniques; Programming Models; Dynamic Analysis


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