Particles to partial differential equations parsimoniously

Hassan Arbabi, Ioannis G. Kevrekidis

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Equations governing physico-chemical processes are usually known at microscopic spatial scales, yet one suspects that there exist equations, e.g., in the form of partial differential equations (PDEs), that can explain the system evolution at much coarser, meso-, or macroscopic length scales. Discovering those coarse-grained effective PDEs can lead to considerable savings in computation-intensive tasks like prediction or control. We propose a framework combining artificial neural networks with multiscale computation, in the form of equation-free numerics, for the efficient discovery of such macro-scale PDEs directly from microscopic simulations. Gathering sufficient microscopic data for training neural networks can be computationally prohibitive; equation-free numerics enable a more parsimonious collection of training data by only operating in a sparse subset of the space-time domain. We also propose using a data-driven approach, based on manifold learning (including one using the notion of unnormalized optimal transport of distributions and one based on moment-based description of the distributions), to identify macro-scale dependent variable(s) suitable for the data-driven discovery of said PDEs. This approach can corroborate physically motivated candidate variables or introduce new data-driven variables, in terms of which the coarse-grained effective PDE can be formulated. We illustrate our approach by extracting coarse-grained evolution equations from particle-based simulations with a priori unknown macro-scale variable(s) while significantly reducing the requisite data collection computational effort.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number0331371
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 1 2021
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Statistical and Nonlinear Physics
  • Mathematical Physics
  • General Physics and Astronomy
  • Applied Mathematics


Dive into the research topics of 'Particles to partial differential equations parsimoniously'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this