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Enforcing statistical constraints in generative adversarial networks for modeling chaotic dynamical

J.-L. Wu, K. Kashinath, A. Albert, D. Chirila, Prabhat, H. Xiao

Journal of Computational Physics 406 (2020): 109209.


Simulating complex physical systems often involves solving partial differential equations (PDEs) with some closures due to the presence of multi-scale physics that cannot be fully resolved. Although the advancement of high performance computing has made resolving small-scale physics possible, such simulations are still very expensive. Therefore, reliable and accurate closure models for the unresolved physics remains an important requirement for many computational physics problems, e.g., turbulence simulation.

Recently, several researchers have adopted generative adversarial networks (GANs), a novel paradigm of training machine learning models, to generate solutions of PDEs-governed complex systems without having to numerically solve these PDEs. However, GANs are known to be difficult in training and likely to converge to local minima, where the generated samples do not capture the true statistics of the training data.

In this work, we present a statistical constrained generative adversarial network by enforcing constraints of covariance from the training data, which results in an improved machine-learning-based emulator to capture the statistics of the training data generated by solving fully resolved PDEs. We show that such a statistical regularization leads to better performance compared to standard GANs, measured by:

(1) the constrained model's ability to more faithfully emulate certain physical properties of the system,
(2) the significantly reduced (by up to 80%) training time to reach the solution.

We exemplify this approach on the Rayleigh-Bénard convection, a turbulent flow system that is an idealized model of the Earth's atmosphere. With the growth of high-fidelity simulation databases of physical systems, this work suggests great potential for being an alternative to the explicit modeling of closures or parameterizations for unresolved physics, which are known to be a major source of uncertainty in simulating multi-scale physical systems, e.g., turbulence or Earth's climate.

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