This is a cross-post.

Let $U \subseteq \mathbb R^n$ be an open subset, and let $f:U \to \mathbb R$ be smooth. Suppose that $x \in U$ is a **strict local minimum** point of $f$.

Let $df^k(x):(\mathbb R^n)^k \to \mathbb R$ be its $k$ "derivative", i.e. the symmetric multilinear map defined by setting $df^k(x)(e_{i_1},\dots,e_{i_k})=\partial_{i_1} \dots \partial_{i_k}f(x)$.

**Assume that $df^j(x) \neq 0$ for some natural $j$.** Let $k$ be the minimal such that $df^k(x) \neq 0$. Since $x$ is a local minimum, $k$ must be even.

**Suppose now that $df^k(x)$ is non-degenerate**, i.e. $df^k(x)(h,\dots,h) \neq 0$ for any non-zero $h \in \mathbb R^n$. (Since $x$ is a minimum, this is equivalent to $df^k(x)$ being positive-definite, i.e. $df^k(x)(h,\dots,h) > 0$ for any non-zero $h \in \mathbb R^n$).

Question:Is $f$ is strictly convex in some neighbourhood of $x$?

In the one-dimensional case, when $f$ is a map $\mathbb R \to \mathbb R$, the answer is positive:

We have $f^k(x)>0$, and the Taylor expansion of $f''$ near $x$ is $$ f''(y) = {1 \over (k-2)!} f^{(k)}(x)(y - x)^{k-2} + O((y - x)^{k-1}). $$ Thus, $f''(y)>0$ for $y \ne x$ sufficiently close to $x$, so $f$ is strictly convex around $x$.

Returning back to the high-dimensional case, if $k>2$, we have $\text{Hess}f(x)=df^2(x)=0$, and I guess that we should somehow prove that $\text{Hess}f(y)$ becomes positive-definite for $y$ sufficiently close to $x$.

Perhaps we need to understand the Taylor's expansion of $\text{Hess}f$ around $x$, similarly to the one-dimensional case, but I am not sure how to do that.

Is there a nice way?

**Comment:**

It is certainly not enough to assume that $df^k(x)$ is non-zero. Indeed, consider $ f(x,y) = x^2 y^2 + x^8 + y^8$.

$f$ has a strict global minimum at $(0,0)$.

$$\det(\text{Hess}f(x,y))=3136 x^6 y^6 + 112 x^8 + 112 y^8 - 12 x^2 y^2,$$ which is negative when $x=y$ is small and nonzero. Thus, $f$ is not convex at a neighbourhood of zero.

Note that $\text{Hess}f(0,0)=0$; The first non-zero derivative at $(0,0)$ is the fourth-order derivative $df^4(0)$. It is degenerate, however, since $df^4(0)(h^1e_1+h^2e_2,h^1e_1+h^2e_2)=4(h^1)^2(h^2)^2$ vanishes when either $h_i$ is zero.

So, non-vanishing of some derivatives does not ensure convexity.

matrix valued function$Hess(f)$ to take values in the symmetric positive semidefinite matrices. Assuming $d^3f > 0$ does not control $\partial_x \partial^2_{yy} f$ (which is essentially what Mateusz used in his example). $\endgroup$