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OPTCON3: An Active Learning Control Algorithm for Nonlinear Quadratic Stochastic Problems


  • V. Blueschke-Nikolaeva

    () (University of Klagenfurt)

  • D. Blueschke

    () (University of Klagenfurt)

  • R. Neck

    () (University of Klagenfurt)


In this paper, we describe the new OPTCON3 algorithm, which serves to determine approximately optimal policies for stochastic control problems with a quadratic objective function and nonlinear dynamic models. It includes active learning and the dual effect of optimizing policies, whereby optimal policies are used to learn about the stochastics of the dynamic system in addition to their immediate effect on the performance of the system. The OPTCON3 algorithm approximates the nonlinear model with a time-varying linear model and applies a procedure similar to that of Kendrick to the series of linearized models to calculate approximately optimal policies. The results for two simple economic models serve to test the OPTCON3 algorithm and compare it to previous solutions of the stochastic control problem. Initial evaluations show that the OPTCON3 approach may be promising to enhance our understanding of the adaptive economic policy problem under uncertainty.

Suggested Citation

  • V. Blueschke-Nikolaeva & D. Blueschke & R. Neck, 2020. "OPTCON3: An Active Learning Control Algorithm for Nonlinear Quadratic Stochastic Problems," Computational Economics, Springer;Society for Computational Economics, vol. 56(1), pages 145-162, June.
  • Handle: RePEc:kap:compec:v:56:y:2020:i:1:d:10.1007_s10614-019-09949-0
    DOI: 10.1007/s10614-019-09949-0

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Mizrach, Bruce, 1991. "Nonconvexities in a stochastic control problem with learning," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 15(3), pages 515-538, July.
    2. Blueschke-Nikolaeva, V. & Blueschke, D. & Neck, R., 2012. "Optimal control of nonlinear dynamic econometric models: An algorithm and an application," Computational Statistics & Data Analysis, Elsevier, vol. 56(11), pages 3230-3240.
    3. Elizabeth Chase MacRae, 1972. "Linear Decision with Experimentation," NBER Chapters, in: Annals of Economic and Social Measurement, Volume 1, number 4, pages 437-447, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    4. Amman, Hans M & Kendrick, David A, 1995. "Nonconvexities in Stochastic Control Models," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 36(2), pages 455-475, May.
    5. Kendrick, David, 1982. "Caution and probing in a macroeconomic model," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 4(1), pages 149-170, November.
    6. Yaakov Bar-Shalom & Edison Tse, 1976. "Caution, Probing, and the Value of Information in the Control of Uncertain Systems," NBER Chapters, in: Annals of Economic and Social Measurement, Volume 5, number 3, pages 323-337, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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