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An Overview of Automatic Differentiation


  • Jean Utke
  • Paul D Hovland

    () (Mathematics and Computer Science Divisio Argonne National Laboratory)


We provide an overview of automatic differentiation (AD), a technique for the efficient computation of derivatives of functions defined in some programming language. We give a short explanation of how AD works, indicate the anticipated cost of derivatives computed using AD, and survey what AD tools are available. We illustrate the flexibility and utility of AD techniques with a maximum likelihood example and survey other possible applications

Suggested Citation

  • Jean Utke & Paul D Hovland, 2005. "An Overview of Automatic Differentiation," Computing in Economics and Finance 2005 149, Society for Computational Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:sce:scecf5:149

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Orphanides, Athanasios & Wieland, Volker, 2000. "Inflation zone targeting," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 44(7), pages 1351-1387, June.
    2. Svensson, Lars E. O. & Woodford, Michael, 2003. "Indicator variables for optimal policy," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 50(3), pages 691-720, April.
    3. Volker Wieland, "undated". "Monetary Policy and Uncertainty about the Natural Unemployment Rate," Computing in Economics and Finance 1997 11, Society for Computational Economics.
    4. Sack, Brian & Wieland, Volker, 2000. "Interest-rate smoothing and optimal monetary policy: a review of recent empirical evidence," Journal of Economics and Business, Elsevier, vol. 52(1-2), pages 205-228.
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    7. Laurence H. Meyer & Eric T. Swanson & Volker W. Wieland, 2001. "NAIRU Uncertainty and Nonlinear Policy Rules," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 91(2), pages 226-231, May.
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    9. Pearlman, Joseph G., 1992. "Reputational and nonreputational policies under partial information," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 16(2), pages 339-357, April.
    10. Douglas O. Staiger & James H. Stock & Mark W. Watson, 1997. "How Precise Are Estimates of the Natural Rate of Unemployment?," NBER Chapters,in: Reducing Inflation: Motivation and Strategy, pages 195-246 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    11. Swanson, Eric T., 2004. "Signal Extraction And Non-Certainty-Equivalence In Optimal Monetary Policy Rules," Macroeconomic Dynamics, Cambridge University Press, vol. 8(01), pages 27-50, February.
    12. Swanson, Eric T., 2006. "Optimal nonlinear policy: signal extraction with a non-normal prior," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 30(2), pages 185-203, February.
    13. Taylor, John B., 1993. "Discretion versus policy rules in practice," Carnegie-Rochester Conference Series on Public Policy, Elsevier, vol. 39(1), pages 195-214, December.
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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • C65 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Mathematical Methods; Programming Models; Mathematical and Simulation Modeling - - - Miscellaneous Mathematical Tools
    • C61 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Mathematical Methods; Programming Models; Mathematical and Simulation Modeling - - - Optimization Techniques; Programming Models; Dynamic Analysis
    • C63 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Mathematical Methods; Programming Models; Mathematical and Simulation Modeling - - - Computational Techniques


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