Assume that we have a system $Ax = b$ and we want to solve that with constraints.

Can linear programming be used to solve the $x$ from $Ax = b$?

Assume that we have the objective function

$$max : c^T x$$ With the constraints:

$$ x \ge 0 \\ Ax \le b$$

This is on the standard form of linear programming.

What should $c$ vector be then? Should it be $c = A^T b$ ?

  • 2
    $\begingroup$ I think the purpose of this exercise is to understand that any linear program can be written in standard form. Basic idea: maximize $0(x^+ - x^-)$ subject to $x^+ \geq 0, x^- \geq 0, A(x^+ - x^-) \leq b, -A(x^+ - x^-) \leq b$. $\endgroup$ – littleO Nov 21 '19 at 18:44
  • $\begingroup$ @littleO Why x+ and x- ? $\endgroup$ – Daniel Mårtensson Nov 21 '19 at 18:45

Two hints:

  1. Rewrite $Ax=b$ as $Ax \le b$ and $-Ax\le -b$.
  2. Rewrite $x$ as $x^+ - x^-$, where $x^+ \ge 0$ and $x^- \ge 0$.

Explicitly: \begin{align} &\text{maximize} &0(x^+ - x^-) \\ &\text{subject to} &A(x^+ - x^-) &\le b \\ &&-A(x^+ - x^-) &\le -b \\ &&x^+ &\ge 0 \\ &&x^- &\ge 0 \end{align} Now this is standard form because all constraints are $\le$ and all variables are nonnegative. To recover $x$ after you solve, compute $x=x^+ - x^-$.

  • $\begingroup$ So the constraints need to be $-Ax \le -b$ and x...? $\endgroup$ – Daniel Mårtensson Nov 21 '19 at 18:42
  • $\begingroup$ Can you rewrite the whole objective function and its constraints? $\endgroup$ – Daniel Mårtensson Nov 21 '19 at 18:43
  • $\begingroup$ Take $c=0$ for the objective. $\endgroup$ – Rob Pratt Nov 21 '19 at 18:51
  • $\begingroup$ But that won't help me right? $\endgroup$ – Daniel Mårtensson Nov 21 '19 at 18:52
  • $\begingroup$ @littleO wrote it out in a comment, except you need to change $b$ to $-b$ in the second constraint. $\endgroup$ – Rob Pratt Nov 21 '19 at 18:53

Here is a pratical answer. I'm using GNU Octave's linear programming tool: https://octave.org/doc/v4.4.1/Linear-Programming.html

>> A = [1 2; 1 -4]
A =

   1   2
   1  -4

>> b =  [2; 5]
b =


>> c = A'*b
c =


>> x = glpk(c, A, b, [0;0], [], "UU", "CC", -1) % -1 is for maximize
x =



The objective function is (and also need to be $c^T = A^Tb$)

$$ max: A^T b x$$

And the constraints are

$$ x \ge 0\\ Ax \le b$$

If I ignore the constraints and only do linear solving $$x = (A^TA)^{-1}A^Tb$$ Then the solution $x$ would be.

>> x = linsolve(A, b)
x =



I have created a C-function named linprog in EmbeddedLapack here. Very easy to use for embedded system if you need optimization there.


  • $\begingroup$ @Rahul math is quite fuzzy and so are the questions as well. But read the question again. I'm talking about constraints. $\endgroup$ – Daniel Mårtensson Nov 22 '19 at 12:29
  • $\begingroup$ @Rahul The reason why everyone else interpret this question differently is because they are reading the title. The main head question says that there is constraints included. :) Also to include, math becomes very fuzzy. I like to make it practical as possible and my "proofs" is to use software to compute :) $\endgroup$ – Daniel Mårtensson Nov 22 '19 at 15:36
  • $\begingroup$ If everyone is misunderstanding your question, and you refuse to clarify your question, then all the best of luck to you my friend. $\endgroup$ – Rahul Nov 22 '19 at 17:12
  • $\begingroup$ @Rahul Not sure if all misunderstanding my question. But all I say is to read the question, and not focus on the title only. $\endgroup$ – Daniel Mårtensson Nov 23 '19 at 1:44

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