skip to main content

This content will become publicly available on December 1, 2022

Title: Physics-informed learning of governing equations from scarce data
Abstract Harnessing data to discover the underlying governing laws or equations that describe the behavior of complex physical systems can significantly advance our modeling, simulation and understanding of such systems in various science and engineering disciplines. This work introduces a novel approach called physics-informed neural network with sparse regression to discover governing partial differential equations from scarce and noisy data for nonlinear spatiotemporal systems. In particular, this discovery approach seamlessly integrates the strengths of deep neural networks for rich representation learning, physics embedding, automatic differentiation and sparse regression to approximate the solution of system variables, compute essential derivatives, as well as identify the key derivative terms and parameters that form the structure and explicit expression of the equations. The efficacy and robustness of this method are demonstrated, both numerically and experimentally, on discovering a variety of partial differential equation systems with different levels of data scarcity and noise accounting for different initial/boundary conditions. The resulting computational framework shows the potential for closed-form model discovery in practical applications where large and accurate datasets are intractable to capture.
; ;
Award ID(s):
Publication Date:
Journal Name:
Nature Communications
Sponsoring Org:
National Science Foundation
More Like this
  1. Discovering governing physical laws from noisy data is a grand challenge in many science and engineering research areas. We present a new approach to data-driven discovery of ordinary differential equations (ODEs) and partial differential equations (PDEs), in explicit or implicit form. We demonstrate our approach on a wide range of problems, including shallow water equations and Navier–Stokes equations. The key idea is to select candidate terms for the underlying equations using dimensional analysis, and to approximate the weights of the terms with error bars using our threshold sparse Bayesian regression. This new algorithm employs Bayesian inference to tune the hyperparameters automatically. Our approach is effective, robust and able to quantify uncertainties by providing an error bar for each discovered candidate equation. The effectiveness of our algorithm is demonstrated through a collection of classical ODEs and PDEs. Numerical experiments demonstrate the robustness of our algorithm with respect to noisy data and its ability to discover various candidate equations with error bars that represent the quantified uncertainties. Detailed comparisons with the sequential threshold least-squares algorithm and the lasso algorithm are studied from noisy time-series measurements and indicate that the proposed method provides more robust and accurate results. In addition, the data-driven predictionmore »of dynamics with error bars using discovered governing physical laws is more accurate and robust than classical polynomial regressions.« less
  2. Lavrik, Inna (Ed.)
    Biologically-informed neural networks (BINNs), an extension of physics-informed neural networks [1], are introduced and used to discover the underlying dynamics of biological systems from sparse experimental data. In the present work, BINNs are trained in a supervised learning framework to approximate in vitro cell biology assay experiments while respecting a generalized form of the governing reaction-diffusion partial differential equation (PDE). By allowing the diffusion and reaction terms to be multilayer perceptrons (MLPs), the nonlinear forms of these terms can be learned while simultaneously converging to the solution of the governing PDE. Further, the trained MLPs are used to guide the selection of biologically interpretable mechanistic forms of the PDE terms which provides new insights into the biological and physical mechanisms that govern the dynamics of the observed system. The method is evaluated on sparse real-world data from wound healing assays with varying initial cell densities [2].
  3. We investigate methods for learning partial differential equation (PDE) models from spatio-temporal data under biologically realistic levels and forms of noise. Recent progress in learning PDEs from data have used sparse regression to select candidate terms from a denoised set of data, including approximated partial derivatives. We analyse the performance in using previous methods to denoise data for the task of discovering the governing system of PDEs. We also develop a novel methodology that uses artificial neural networks (ANNs) to denoise data and approximate partial derivatives. We test the methodology on three PDE models for biological transport, i.e. the advection–diffusion, classical Fisher–Kolmogorov–Petrovsky–Piskunov (Fisher–KPP) and nonlinear Fisher–KPP equations. We show that the ANN methodology outperforms previous denoising methods, including finite differences and both local and global polynomial regression splines, in the ability to accurately approximate partial derivatives and learn the correct PDE model.
  4. A plethora of complex dynamical systems from disordered media to biological systems exhibit mathematical characteristics (e.g., long-range dependence, self-similar and power law magnitude increments) that are well-fitted by fractional partial differential equations (PDEs). For instance, some biological systems displaying an anomalous diffusion behavior, which is characterized by a non-linear mean-square displacement relation, can be mathematically described by fractional PDEs. In general, the PDEs represent various physical laws or rules governing complex dynamical systems. Since prior knowledge about the mathematical equations describing complex dynamical systems in biology, healthcare, disaster mitigation, transportation, or environmental sciences may not be available, we aim to provide algorithmic strategies to discover the integer or fractional PDEs and their parameters from system's evolution data. Toward deciphering non-trivial mechanisms driving a complex system, we propose a data-driven approach that estimates the parameters of a fractional PDE model. We study the space-time fractional diffusion model that describes a complex stochastic process, where the magnitude and the time increments are stable processes. Starting from limited time-series data recorded while the system is evolving, we develop a fractional-order moments-based approach to determine the parameters of a generalized fractional PDE. We formulate two optimization problems to allow us to estimate the argumentsmore »of the fractional PDE. Employing extensive simulation studies, we show that the proposed approach is effective at retrieving the relevant parameters of the space-time fractional PDE. The presented mathematical approach can be further enhanced and generalized to include additional operators that may help to identify the dominant rule governing the measurements or to determine the degree to which multiple physical laws contribute to the observed dynamics.« less
  5. Abstract

    Identifying the governing equations of a nonlinear dynamical system is key to both understanding the physical features of the system and constructing an accurate model of the dynamics that generalizes well beyond the available data. Achieving this kind of interpretable system identification is even more difficult for partially observed systems. We propose a machine learning framework for discovering the governing equations of a dynamical system using only partial observations, combining an encoder for state reconstruction with a sparse symbolic model. The entire architecture is trained end-to-end by matching the higher-order symbolic time derivatives of the sparse symbolic model with finite difference estimates from the data. Our tests show that this method can successfully reconstruct the full system state and identify the equations of motion governing the underlying dynamics for a variety of ordinary differential equation (ODE) and partial differential equation (PDE) systems.