Case studies in optimization: Catenary problem

Igor A. Griva, Robert J. Vanderbei

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


This is the second paper in a series presenting case studies in modern large-scale constrained optimization (Vanderbei,2001). In this paper, we consider the shape of a hanging chain, which, in equilibrium, minimizes the potential energy of the chain. In addition to the tutorial aspects of this paper, we also emphasize the importance of certain modeling issues such as convex vs. nonconvex formulations of given problem. We will present several models of the problem and demonstrate differences in the number of iterations and solution time.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)463-482
Number of pages20
JournalOptimization and Engineering
Issue number4
StatePublished - Dec 2005
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Software
  • Civil and Structural Engineering
  • Aerospace Engineering
  • Mechanical Engineering
  • Control and Optimization
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


  • Catenary problem
  • Constrained optimization
  • Optimal design
  • Shape optimization


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