Deflation techniques for distinct solutions of nonlinear PDEs

Patrick Farrell (The University of Oxford)

Frank Adams 1,

Nonlinear problems can permit several distinct solutions. For example, most
optimisation problems arising in practice are nonconvex and permit multiple
local minima. This leads to the question: if a problem has more than one
solution, how can we compute them? In this talk, I present an algorithm for this
purpose, called deflation. Given the residual of a nonlinear PDE, and one
solution of it, deflation constructs a new problem with all of the solutions of
the original problem, except for the one being deflated. This allows Newton's
method to converge to different solutions, even starting from the same initial
guess. An efficient preconditioning strategy is devised, and the number of
Krylov iterations is observed not to grow as solutions are deflated; deflation
scales to problems with billions of degrees of freedom. The technique is then
applied to computing distinct solutions of nonlinear PDEs, tracing bifurcation
diagrams, and to computing multiple local minima of PDE-constrained optimisation
problems. 

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