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I am applying optim() function in R to obtain maximum likelihood estimates of the fixed effects and random effects in a model with bivariate random effects. The code works well but it is very slow in executing the line of code involving the optim() function. I would like to know if there is/ are any specialized optimization function(s)/ package(s) in R for maximizing likelihoods in random effect models, instead of the general purpose optimization function optim().

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I suggest trying Bound Optimization By Quadratic Approximation which is sometimes used for random-effect modeling.

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