Composing Partial Differential Equations with Physics-Aware Neural Networks

Matthias Karlbauer · Timothy Praditia · Sebastian Otte · Sergey Oladyshkin · Wolfgang Nowak · Martin V Butz

Hall E #102

Keywords: [ APP: Climate ] [ APP: Time Series ] [ DL: Sequential Models, Time series ] [ APP: Physics ]


We introduce a compositional physics-aware FInite volume Neural Network (FINN) for learning spatiotemporal advection-diffusion processes. FINN implements a new way of combining the learning abilities of artificial neural networks with physical and structural knowledge from numerical simulation by modeling the constituents of partial differential equations (PDEs) in a compositional manner. Results on both one- and two-dimensional PDEs (Burgers’, diffusion-sorption, diffusion-reaction, Allen–Cahn) demonstrate FINN’s superior modeling accuracy and excellent out-of-distribution generalization ability beyond initial and boundary conditions. With only one tenth of the number of parameters on average, FINN outperforms pure machine learning and other state-of-the-art physics-aware models in all cases—often even by multiple orders of magnitude. Moreover, FINN outperforms a calibrated physical model when approximating sparse real-world data in a diffusion-sorption scenario, confirming its generalization abilities and showing explanatory potential by revealing the unknown retardation factor of the observed process.

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