Eliminating poisson's spot with linear programming

Robert J. Vanderbei

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


A leading design concept for NASA's upcoming planet-finding space telescope involves placing an occulter 72,000 km in front of a 4-m telescope. The purpose of the occulter is to block the bright starlight thereby enabling the telescope to take pictures of planets orbiting the blocked star. Unfortunately, diffraction effects prevent a simple circular occulter from providing a sufficiently dark shadow-a specially shaped occulter is required. In this paper, I explain how to reduce this shape-optimization problem to a large-scale linear programming problem that can be solved with modern LP tools.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)455-467
Number of pages13
JournalOperations Research/ Computer Science Interfaces Series
StatePublished - 2009

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Computer Science
  • Management Science and Operations Research


  • Extrasolar planets
  • Highcontrast imaging
  • Large scale optimization
  • Linear programming
  • Optical design


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