Section: Scientific Foundations

Numerical optimization of PDE systems

Optimization problems involving systems governed by PDEs, such as optimum shape design in aerodynamics or electromagnetics, are more and more complex in the industrial setting.

In certain situations, the major difficulty resides in the costly evaluation of a functional by means of a simulation, and the numerical method to be used must exploit at best the problem characteristics (regularity or smoothness, local convexity).

In many other cases, several criteria are to be optimized and some are non differentiable and/or non convex. A large set of parameters, sometimes of different types (boolean, integer, real or functional), are to be taken into account, as well as constraints of various types (physical and geometrical, in particular). Additionally, today's most interesting optimization pre-industrial projects are multi-disciplinary, and this complicates the mathematical, physical and numerical settings. Developing robust optimizers is therefore an essential objective to make progress in this area of scientific computing.

In the area of numerical optimization algorithms, the project aims at adapting classical optimization methods (simplex, gradient, quasi-Newton) when applicable to relevant engineering applications, as well as developing and testing less conventional approaches such as Evolutionary Strategies (ES), including Genetic or Particle-Swarm Algorithms, or hybrid schemes, in contexts where robustness is a very severe constraint.

In a different perspective, the heritage from the former project Sinus in Finite-Volumes (or -Elements) for nonlinear hyperbolic problems, leads us to examine cost-efficiency issues of large shape-optimization applications with an emphasis on the PDE approximation; of particular interest to us:

  • best approximation and shape-parameterization,

  • convergence acceleration (in particular by multi-level methods),

  • model reduction (e.g. by Proper Orthogonal Decomposition),

  • parallel and grid computing; etc.