Primal dual methods for Wasserstein gradient flows

Published on (GMT) by Jose Carrillo
Combining the classical theory of optimal transport with modern operator splitting techniques, we develop a new numerical method for nonlinear, nonlocal partial differential equations, arising in models of porous media, materials science, and biological swarming. We reduce computing the solution of these evolutionary PDEs to solving a sequence of fully discrete minimization problems, with strictly convex objective function and linear constraint. We compute the minimizer of these fully discrete problems by applying a recent, provably convergent primal dual splitting scheme for three operators. By leveraging the PDE's underlying variational structure, our method overcomes traditional stability issues arising from the strong nonlinearity and degeneracy, and it is also naturally positivity preserving and entropy decreasing. Furthermore, by transforming the traditional linear equality constraint, as has appeared in previous work, into a linear inequality constraint, our method converges in fewer iterations without sacrificing any accuracy. Remarkably, our method is also massively parallelizable and thus very efficient in resolving high dimensional problems. We simulate nonlinear PDEs and Wasserstein geodesics in one and two dimensions that illustrate the key properties of our numerical method. Here we have the animations of the simulations related to this work that can be found in https://arxiv.org/abs/1901.08081
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