# Quick start¶

## What is cvxstoc?¶

cvxstoc is a Python package (built on top of cvxpy) that makes it easy to code and solve stochastic optimization problems, i.e., convex optimization problems that include random variables.

## What can I do with cvxstoc?¶

Here is a quick example of the kinds of problems you can tackle with cvxstoc (see the gentle walkthrough for more examples).

Suppose we are interested in a stochastic variation on a portfolio optimization problem, i.e., we wish to allocate our wealth across $$n$$ assets such that the returns on our investments are (on average) maximized, so long as we keep the probability of a (catastrophic) loss as low as possible; we model our investment choices as a vector $$x \in {\bf R}^n_+$$ (we require that the components of $$x$$ sum to one), the (uncertain) price change of each asset as a vector $$p \in {\bf R}^n \sim \textrm{Normal}(\mu, \Sigma)$$ for simplicity, and our loss threshold and tolerance as $$\alpha$$ and $$\beta$$, respectively (typically, $$\alpha$$ is negative and $$\beta$$ is small, e.g., 0.05).

These considerations lead us to the following (convex) optimization problem:

(1)$\begin{split}$$\begin{array}{ll} \mbox{maximize} & \mathop{\bf E{}} p^T x \\ \mbox{subject to} & x \succeq 0, \quad {\mathbf 1}^T x = 1, \quad {\mathop{\bf Prob}} ( p^T x \leq \alpha ) \leq \beta \end{array}$$\end{split}$

with variable $$x$$.

We can directly express (1) using cvxstoc as follows:

from cvxstoc import NormalRandomVariable, expectation, prob
from cvxpy import Maximize, Problem
from cvxpy.expressions.variable import Variable
import numpy

# Create problem data.
n = 10
mu = numpy.zeros(n)
Sigma = 0.1*numpy.eye(n)
p = NormalRandomVariable(mu, Sigma)
alpha = -1
beta = 0.05

# Create and solve stochastic optimization problem.
x = Variable(n)
p = Problem(Maximize(expectation(x.T*p, num_samples=100)),
[x >= 0, x.T*numpy.ones(n) == 1,
prob(x.T*p <= alpha, num_samples=100) <= beta])
p.solve()


## How do I install cvxstoc?¶

On Mac OS X:

1. Follow the instructions for installing cvxpy.
2. From the terminal, type: pip install cvxstoc (note: doing this will install PyMC, which cvxstoc depends on).
3. Done!