Understanding CVXPY Error: “Strict Inequalities are not allowed.”

What will you learn?

In this comprehensive guide, you will delve into the perplexing issue of encountering a “Strict inequalities are not allowed” error in CVXPY. You will understand why this error occurs and how to effectively troubleshoot and resolve it. By mastering the nuances of constraint formulation in CVXPY, you will be able to optimize your code and avoid common pitfalls related to strict inequalities.

Introduction to Problem and Solution

When working with CVXPY, a robust Python optimization package, encountering errors can sometimes be puzzling. The “Strict inequalities are not allowed” error message is one such common hurdle that may seem unexpected, especially when your code appears to contain only non-strict inequalities. This guide aims to demystify this error by providing insights into how CVXPY interprets constraints and the importance of adhering strictly to its requirements in problem formulation.

The key lies in understanding the subtle nuances that can lead CVXPY to interpret constraints differently than expected, even when non-strict inequalities are seemingly present. By identifying these nuances and rectifying them in your code, you can ensure a smooth optimization process without encountering the “Strict inequalities are not allowed” error.


# Sample solution structure - adjust according to specific problems.
import cvxpy as cp

# Define variables
x = cp.Variable()

# Define objective function
objective = cp.Minimize(x**2)

# Define constraints (ensure they adhere to non-strict inequality form)
constraints = [x >= 0]  # Example of a non-strict inequality constraint

# Formulate problem
problem = cp.Problem(objective, constraints)

# Solve problem

# Copyright PHD


The provided code snippet presents a basic framework for solving an optimization problem using CVXPY while avoiding the “Strict inequalities are not allowed” error:

  1. Defining Variables: Use cp.Variable() to define the variables being optimized.
  2. Objective Function: Specify the objective function within cp.Minimize() or cp.Maximize().
  3. Constraints: Ensure all constraints use non-strict inequality operators (<= for ‘less than or equal’ and >= for ‘greater than or equal’) to prevent triggering errors.
  4. Problem Formulation: Combine the objective function and constraints into a Problem instance.
  5. Solving The Problem: Call .solve() on the problem instance to find an optimal solution within defined parameters.

By meticulously enforcing non-strict inequality symbols in each constraint, you can prevent unintended errors from arising during optimization.

  1. What does “Strict Inequalities” mean?

  2. A: Strict inequalities involve using < (less than) or > (greater than), indicating exclusivity on either bound of an equation�these are not permitted in convex optimization problems handled by CVXPY.

  3. Can I use equality (==) conditions?

  4. A: Yes! Equality conditions (==) are acceptable when defining constraints in CVXPY.

  5. Why does my integer variable cause issues?

  6. A: Ensure proper model support for integer variables (Int()) as different solvers may interpret restrictions around integers differently; verify solver compatibility with integral variables.

  7. Is there any way I could accidentally introduce strict inequalities without realizing it?

  8. A: Operations leading up rounding-off values could implicitly introduce strictness�be cautious about transformations applied within constraints.

  9. How do I debug unclear errors from CVXPY?

  10. A: Start by isolating parts of your expression/constraint set-up incrementally checking their validity through direct substitution wherever possible helps identify problematic segments quickly.

  11. Can changing solvers help resolve these errors?

  12. A: Sometimes yes! Different solvers have varied interpretations and capabilities; switching might bypass specific limitations causing issues.


Mastering constraint formulations in optimization libraries like CVXPy is crucial for avoiding common yet perplexing errors such as the “Strict inequalities are not allowed” message. By paying close attention to expression forms and adhering strictly to convexity criteria, you can unlock the full potential of mathematical programming tools at your disposal.

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