Computational modelling and optimal control of interacting particle systems: connecting dynamic density functional theory and PDE-constrained optimization
Roden, Jonna C.
Processes that can be described by systems of interacting particles are ubiquitous in nature, society, and industry, ranging from animal flocking, the spread of diseases, and formation of opinions to nano-filtration, brewing, and printing. In real-world applications it is often relevant to not only model a process of interest, but to also optimize it in order to achieve a desired outcome with minimal resources, such as time, money, or energy. Mathematically, the dynamics of interacting particle systems can be described using Dynamic Density Functional Theory (DDFT). The resulting models are nonlinear, nonlocal partial differential equations (PDEs) that include convolution integral terms. Such terms also enter the naturally arising no-flux boundary conditions. Due to the nonlocal, nonlinear nature of such problems they are challenging both to analyse and solve numerically. In order to optimize processes that are modelled by PDEs, one can apply tools from PDE-constrained optimization. The aim here is to drive a quantity of interest towards a target state by varying a control variable. This is constrained by a PDE describing the process of interest, in which the control enters as a model parameter. Such problems can be tackled by deriving and solving the (first-order) optimality system, which couples the PDE model with a second PDE and an algebraic equation. Solving such a system numerically is challenging, since large matrices arise in its discretization, for which efficient solution strategies have to be found. Most work in PDE-constrained optimization addresses problems in which the control is applied linearly, and which are constrained by local, often linear PDEs, since introducing nonlinearity significantly increases the complexity in both the analysis and numerical solution of the optimization problem. However, in order to optimize real-world processes described by nonlinear, nonlocal DDFT models, one has to develop an optimal control framework for such models. The aim is to drive the particles to some desired distribution by applying control either linearly, through a particle source, or bilinearly, though an advective field. The optimization process is constrained by the DDFT model that describes how the particles move under the influence of advection, diffusion, external forces, and particle–particle interactions. In order to tackle this, the (first-order) optimality system is derived, which, since it involves nonlinear (integro-)PDEs that are coupled nonlocally in space and time, is significantly harder than in the standard case. Novel numerical methods are developed, effectively combining pseudospectral methods and iterative solvers, to efficiently and accurately solve such a system. In a next step this framework is extended so that it can capture and optimize industrially relevant processes, such as brewing and nano-filtration. In order to do so, extensions to both the DDFT model and the numerical method are made. Firstly, since industrial processes often involve tubes, funnels, channels, or tanks of various shapes, the PDE model itself, as well as the optimization problem, need to be solved on complicated domains. This is achieved by developing a novel spectral element approach that is compatible with both the PDE solver and the optimal control framework. Secondly, many industrial processes, such as nano-filtration, involve more than one type of particle. Therefore, the DDFT model is extended to describe multiple particle species. Finally, depending on the application of interest, additional physical effects need to be included in the model. In this thesis, to model sedimentation processes in brewing, the model is modified to capture volume exclusion effects.
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