Fast PDE-constrained optimization via self-supervised operator learning

25 Oct 2021  ·  Sifan Wang, Mohamed Aziz Bhouri, Paris Perdikaris ·

Design and optimal control problems are among the fundamental, ubiquitous tasks we face in science and engineering. In both cases, we aim to represent and optimize an unknown (black-box) function that associates a performance/outcome to a set of controllable variables through an experiment. In cases where the experimental dynamics can be described by partial differential equations (PDEs), such problems can be mathematically translated into PDE-constrained optimization tasks, which quickly become intractable as the number of control variables and the cost of experiments increases. In this work we leverage physics-informed deep operator networks (DeepONets) -- a self-supervised framework for learning the solution operator of parametric PDEs -- to build fast and differentiable surrogates for rapidly solving PDE-constrained optimization problems, even in the absence of any paired input-output training data. The effectiveness of the proposed framework will be demonstrated across different applications involving continuous functions as control or design variables, including time-dependent optimal control of heat transfer, and drag minimization of obstacles in Stokes flow. In all cases, we observe that DeepONets can minimize high-dimensional cost functionals in a matter of seconds, yielding a significant speed up compared to traditional adjoint PDE solvers that are typically costly and limited to relatively low-dimensional control/design parametrizations.

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