I am trying to code the following maximization program that I am not able to solve algebraically (Of course I manage to get the first derivative, but struggle finding its root):

$\begin{equation} Max_{\{F\}} F \cdot (1+\alpha \cdot ln(1-\frac{F}{\alpha})) \end{equation} \\ \text{Subject to: }F>0, F<\alpha \\ \text{where } \alpha > 0 \text{ is a parameter (real).}$

The function is indeed concave and has indeed a solution (unique), based on the graph:

f[a_Real, x_Real] := x*(1 + a*Log[1 - x/a])
Manipulate[Plot[f[a, x], {x, 0, a}], {a, 0, 5, 0.01}]

So far I've tried the brute force (no restriction on domain(s)) following code (solving for first derivative equal zero):

g[a_Real, x_Real] := D[x*(1 + a*Log[1 - x/a]), x]
Solve[g[a, x] == 0,x]

Unfortunately, I get the following error "Solve: Inverse functions are being used by Solve​, so some solutions may not be found; use Reduce for complete solution information."

I am VERY new to Wolfram Mathematica, and don't really understand how to do this...

Would there be a more efficient code that would allow me to get a closed form solution for $F$ (as a function of $\alpha$) solving this program ?

  • $\begingroup$ Similar questions were asked and answered at this forum a lot. The first step is g[a_?NumericQ] := Maximize[{x*(1 + a*Log[1 - x/a]), x >= 0 && x <= a}, x]. For example, g[1] performs {((E^2 - E^ProductLog[E^2]) (1 + Log[1 - (E^2 - E^ProductLog[E^2])/E^2]))/E^2, {x -> ( E^2 - E^ProductLog[E^2])/E^2}}. You may prefer NMaximize instead of. $\endgroup$
    – user64494
    Commented Jul 19, 2021 at 17:40

1 Answer 1


You can get an analytical solution for the maximum with a litte trick (here called sol3).

I know some people don't like this way, but if you test the result numericaly (here sol4), i see no obstacle.

Since Solve does not work for general a, but for given numbers, insert an otherwise never used constant (here EulerGamma), solve and reinsert a to find the x-coordinate for maximum.

f[a_, x_] = x*(1 + a*Log[1 - x/a]);

sol3[a_] = 
  First@Solve[{D[f[EulerGamma, x], x] == 0, 
  D[f[ EulerGamma, x], {x, 2}] < 0, x < EulerGamma}, x, Reals] /. 
  EulerGamma -> a // Expand

(*   {x -> a - a E^(-1 - 1/a + ProductLog[E^(1 + 1/a)])}   *)

Test with explicit numerical solution gives the same.

sol4[a_] := 
  First@Solve[{D[f[a, x], x] == 0, D[f[ a, x], {x, 2}] < 0, x < a}, x, 

Table[{(x /. sol3[a]), (x /. sol4[a])}, {a, 10^-2, 5, Pi/5}] // 
  N // TableForm

Define point coordinates for the found maximum.

pt[a_] = Point[{x /. sol3[a], f[a, x /. sol3[a]]}] // Simplify

  Plot[f[a, x], {x, 0, a}, 
    Epilog :> {Red, PointSize[.03], N[pt[a]]}], {{a, 1}, 0, 5}]

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