Data-driven learning of nonlocal physics from high-fidelity synthetic data
A key challenge to nonlocal models is the analytical complexity of deriving them from first principles, and frequently their use is justified a posteriori. In this work we extract nonlocal models from data, circumventing these challenges and providing data-driven justification for the resulting model form. Extracting data-driven surrogates is a major challenge for machine learning (ML) approaches, due to nonlinearities and lack of convexity — it is particularly challenging to extract surrogates which are provably well-posed and numerically stable. Our scheme not only yields a convex optimization problem, but also allows extraction of nonlocal models whose kernels may be partially negative while maintaining well-posedness even in small-data regimes. To achieve this, based on established nonlocal theory, we embed in our algorithm sufficient conditions on the non-positive part of the kernel that guarantee well-posedness of the learnt operator. These conditions are imposed as inequality constraints to meet the requisite conditions of the nonlocal theory. We demonstrate this workflow for a range of applications, including reproduction of manufactured nonlocal kernels; numerical homogenization of Darcy flow associated with a heterogeneous periodic microstructure; nonlocal approximation to high-order local transport phenomena; and approximation of globally supported fractional diffusion operators by truncated kernels.