Neural operators [1–5] have recently become popular tools for designing solution maps between function spaces in the form of neural networks. Differently from classical scientific machine learning approaches that learn parameters of a known partial differential equation (PDE) for a single instance of the input parameters at a fixed resolution, neural operators approximate the solution map of a family of PDEs [6,7]. Despite their success, the uses of neural operators are so far restricted to relatively shallow neural networks and confined to learning hidden governing laws. In this work, we propose a novel nonlocal neural operator, which we refer to as nonlocal kernel network (NKN), that is resolution independent, characterized by deep neural networks, and capable of handling a variety of tasks such as learning governing equations and classifying images. Our NKN stems from the interpretation of the neural network as a discrete nonlocal diffusion reaction equation that, in the limit of infinite layers, is equivalent to a parabolic nonlocal equation, whose stability is analyzed via nonlocal vector calculus. The resemblance with integral forms of neural operators allows NKNs to capture long-range dependencies in the feature space, while the continuous treatment of node-to-node interactions makes NKNs resolution independent. The resemblance with neural ODEs, reinterpreted in a nonlocal sense, and the stable network dynamics between layers allow for generalization of NKN's optimal parameters from shallow to deep networks. This fact enables the use of shallow-to-deep initialization techniques [8]. Our tests show that NKNs outperform baseline methods in both learning governing equations and image classification tasks and generalize well to different resolutions and depths.

Fractional equations have become the model of choice in several applications where heterogeneities at the microstructure result in anomalous diffusive behavior at the macroscale. In this work we introduce a new fractional operator characterized by a doubly-variable fractional order and possibly truncated interactions. Under certain conditions on the model parameters and on the regularity of the fractional order we show that the corresponding Poisson problem is well-posed. We also introduce a finite element discretization and describe an efficient implementation of the finite-element matrix assembly in the case of piecewise constant fractional order. Through several numerical tests, we illustrate the improved descriptive power of this new operator across media interfaces. Furthermore, we present one-dimensional and two-dimensional h-convergence results that show that the variable-order model has the same convergence behavior as the constant-order model.

Nonlocal operators of fractional type are a popular modeling choice for applications that do not adhere to classical diffusive behavior; however, one major challenge in nonlocal simulations is the selection of model parameters. In this work we propose an optimization-based approach to parameter identification for fractional models with an optional truncation radius. We formulate the inference problem as an optimal control problem where the objective is to minimize the discrepancy between observed data and an approximate solution of the model, and the control variables are the fractional order and the truncation length. For the numerical solution of the minimization problem we propose a gradient-based approach, where we enhance the numerical performance by an approximation of the bilinear form of the state equation and its derivative with respect to the fractional order. Several numerical tests in one and two dimensions illustrate the theoretical results and show the robustness and applicability of our method.

Nonlocal models, including peridynamics, often use integral operators that embed lengthscales in their definition. However, the integrands in these operators are difficult to define from the data that are typically available for a given physical system, such as laboratory mechanical property tests. In contrast, molecular dynamics (MD) does not require these integrands, but it suffers from computational limitations in the length and time scales it can address. To combine the strengths of both methods and to obtain a coarse-grained, homogenized continuum model that efficiently and accurately captures materials’ behavior, we propose a learning framework to extract, from MD data, an optimal Linear Peridynamic Solid (LPS) model as a surrogate for MD displacements. To maximize the accuracy of the learnt model we allow the peridynamic influence function to be partially negative, while preserving the well-posedness of the resulting model. To achieve this, we provide sufficient well-posedness conditions for discretized LPS models with sign-changing influence functions and develop a constrained optimization algorithm that minimizes the equation residual while enforcing such solvability conditions. This framework guarantees that the resulting model is mathematically well-posed, physically consistent, and that it generalizes well to settings that are different from the ones used during training. We illustrate the efficacy of the proposed approach with several numerical tests for single layer graphene. Our two-dimensional tests show the robustness of the proposed algorithm on validation data sets that include thermal noise, different domain shapes and external loadings, and discretizations substantially different from the ones used for training.

Anomalous behavior is ubiquitous in subsurface solute transport due to the presence of high degrees of heterogeneity at different scales in the media. Although fractional models have been extensively used to describe the anomalous transport in various subsurface applications, their application is hindered by computational challenges. Simpler nonlocal models characterized by integrable kernels and finite interaction length represent a computationally feasible alternative to fractional models; yet, the informed choice of their kernel functions still remains an open problem. We propose a general data-driven framework for the discovery of optimal kernels on the basis of very small and sparse data sets in the context of anomalous subsurface transport. Using spatially sparse breakthrough curves recovered from fine-scale particle-density simulations, we learn the best coarse-scale nonlocal model using a nonlocal operator regression technique. Predictions of the breakthrough curves obtained using the optimal nonlocal model show good agreement with fine-scale simulation results even at locations and time intervals different from the ones used to train the kernel, confirming the excellent generalization properties of the proposed algorithm. A comparison with trained classical models and with black-box deep neural networks confirms the superiority of the predictive capability of the proposed model.

We propose a domain decomposition method for the efficient simulation of nonlocal problems. Our approach is based on a multi-domain formulation of a nonlocal diffusion problem where the subdomains share “nonlocal” interfaces of the size of the nonlocal horizon. This system of nonlocal equations is first rewritten in terms of minimization of a nonlocal energy, then discretized with a meshfree approximation and finally solved via a Lagrange multiplier approach in a way that resembles the finite element tearing and interconnect method. Specifically, we propose a distributed projected gradient algorithm for the solution of the Lagrange multiplier system, whose unknowns determine the nonlocal interface conditions between subdomains. Several two-dimensional numerical tests on problems as large as 191 million unknowns illustrate the strong and the weak scalability of our algorithm, which outperforms the standard approach to the distributed numerical solution of the problem. This work is the first rigorous numerical study in a two-dimensional multi-domain setting for nonlocal operators with finite horizon and, as such, it is a fundamental step towards increasing the use of nonlocal models in large scale simulations.

We develop and analyze an optimization-based method for the coupling of a static peridynamic (PD) model and a static classical elasticity model. The approach formulates the coupling as a control problem in which the states are the solutions of the PD and classical equations, the objective is to minimize their mismatch on an overlap of the PD and classical domains, and the controls are virtual volume constraints and boundary conditions applied at the local-nonlocal interface. Our numerical tests performed on three-dimensional geometries illustrate the consistency and accuracy of our method, its numerical convergence, and its applicability to realistic engineering geometries. We demonstrate the coupling strategy as a means to reduce computational expense by confining the nonlocal model to a subdomain of interest, and as a means to transmit local (e.g., traction) boundary conditions applied at a surface to a nonlocal model in the bulk of the domain.

An ordinary state-based peridynamic material model is proposed for single sheet graphene. The model is calibrated using coarse grained molecular dynamics simulations. The coarse graining method allows the dependence of bond force on bond length to be determined, including the horizon. The peridynamic model allows the horizon to be rescaled, providing a multiscale capability and allowing for substantial reductions in computational cost compared with molecular dynamics. The calibrated peridynamic model is compared to experimental data on the deflection and perforation of a graphene monolayer by an atomic force microscope probe.

Nonlocal models naturally handle a range of physics of interest to SNL, but discretization of their underlying integral operators poses mathematical challenges to realize the accuracy and robustness commonplace in discretization of local counterparts. This project focuses on the concept of asymptotic compatibility, namely preservation of the limit of the discrete nonlocal model to a corresponding well-understood local solution. We address challenges that have traditionally troubled nonlocal mechanics models primarily related to consistency guarantees and boundary conditions. For simple problems such as diffusion and linear elasticity we have developed complete error analysis theory providing consistency guarantees. We then take these foundational tools to develop new state-of-the-art capabilities for: lithiation-induced failure in batteries, ductile failure of problems driven by contact, blast-on-structure induced failure, brittle/ductile failure of thin structures. We also summarize ongoing efforts using these frameworks in data-driven modeling contexts. This report provides a high-level summary of all publications which followed from these efforts.

Nonlocal models use integral operators that embed length-scales in their definition. However, the integrands in these operators are difficult to define from the data that are typically available for a given physical system, such as laboratory mechanical property tests. In contrast, molecular dynamics (MD) does not require these integrands, but it suffers from computational limitations in the length and time scales it can address. To combine the strengths of both methods and to obtain a coarse-grained, homogenized continuum model that efficiently and accurately captures materials' behavior, we propose a learning framework to extract, from MD data, an optimal nonlocal model as a surrogate for MD displacements. Our framework guarantees that the resulting model is mathematically well-posed, physically consistent, and that it generalizes well to settings that are different from the ones used during training. The efficacy of this approach is demonstrated with several numerical tests for single layer graphene both in the case of perfect crystal and in the presence of thermal noise.

Nonlocal models, including peridynamics, often use integral operators that embed lengthscales in their definition. However, the integrands in these operators are difficult to define from the data that are typically available for a given physical system, such as laboratory mechanical property tests. In contrast, molecular dynamics (MD) does not require these integrands, but it suffers from computational limitations in the length and time scales it can address. To combine the strengths of both methods and to obtain a coarse-grained, homogenized continuum model that efficiently and accurately captures materials’ behavior, we propose a learning framework to extract, from MD data, an optimal Linear Peridynamic Solid (LPS) model as a surrogate for MD displacements. To maximize the accuracy of the learnt model we allow the peridynamic influence function to be partially negative, while preserving the well-posedness of the resulting model. To achieve this, we provide sufficient well-posedness conditions for discretized LPS models with sign-changing influence functions and develop a constrained optimization algorithm that minimizes the equation residual while enforcing such solvability conditions. This framework guarantees that the resulting model is mathematically well-posed, physically consistent, and that it generalizes well to settings that are different from the ones used during training. We illustrate the efficacy of the proposed approach with several numerical tests for single layer graphene. Our two-dimensional tests show the robustness of the proposed algorithm on validation data sets that include thermal noise, different domain shapes and external loadings, and discretizations substantially different from the ones used for training.

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.

We present an optimization-based coupling method for local and nonlocal continuum models. Our approach couches the coupling of the models into a control problem where the states are the solutions of the nonlocal and local equations, the objective is to minimize their mismatch on the overlap of the local and nonlocal problem domains, and the virtual controls are the nonlocal volume constraint and the local boundary condition. We present the method in the context of Local-to-Nonlocal diffusion coupling. Numerical examples illustrate the theoretical properties of the approach.

The purpose of this paper is to study a Helmholtz problem with a spectral fractional Laplacian, instead of the standard Laplacian. Recently, it has been established that such a fractional Helmholtz problem better captures the underlying behavior in geophysical electromagnetics. We establish the well-posedness and regularity of this problem. We introduce a hybrid spectral-finite element approach to discretize it and show well-posedness of the discrete system. In addition, we derive a priori discretization error estimates. Finally, we introduce an efficient solver that scales as well as the best possible solver for the classical integer-order Helmholtz equation. We conclude with several illustrative examples that confirm our theoretical findings.

We show that machine learning can improve the accuracy of simulations of stress waves in one-dimensional composite materials. We propose a data-driven technique to learn nonlocal constitutive laws for stress wave propagation models. The method is an optimization-based technique in which the nonlocal kernel function is approximated via Bernstein polynomials. The kernel, including both its functional form and parameters, is derived so that when used in a nonlocal solver, it generates solutions that closely match high-fidelity data. The optimal kernel therefore acts as a homogenized nonlocal continuum model that accurately reproduces wave motion in a smaller-scale, more detailed model that can include multiple materials. We apply this technique to wave propagation within a heterogeneous bar with a periodic microstructure. Several one-dimensional numerical tests illustrate the accuracy of our algorithm. The optimal kernel is demonstrated to reproduce high-fidelity data for a composite material in applications that are substantially different from the problems used as training data.

We show that machine learning can improve the accuracy of simulations of stress waves in one-dimensional composite materials. We propose a data-driven technique to learn nonlocal constitutive laws for stress wave propagation models. The method is an optimization-based technique in which the nonlocal kernel function is approximated via Bernstein polynomials. The kernel, including both its functional form and parameters, is derived so that when used in a nonlocal solver, it generates solutions that closely match high-fidelity data. The optimal kernel therefore acts as a homogenized nonlocal continuum model that accurately reproduces wave motion in a smaller-scale, more detailed model that can include multiple materials. We apply this technique to wave propagation within a heterogeneous bar with a periodic microstructure. Several one-dimensional numerical tests illustrate the accuracy of our algorithm. The optimal kernel is demonstrated to reproduce high-fidelity data for a composite material in applications that are substantially different from the problems used as training data.

This paper continues our efforts to exploit optimization and control ideas as a common foundation for the development of property-preserving numerical methods. Here we focus on a class of scalar advection equations whose solutions have fixed mass in a given Eulerian region and constant bounds in any Lagrangian volume. Our approach separates discretization of the equations from the preservation of their solution properties by treating the latter as optimization constraints. This relieves the discretization process from having to comply with additional restrictions and makes stability and accuracy the sole considerations in its design. A property-preserving solution is then sought as a state that minimizes the distance to an optimally accurate but not property-preserving target solution computed by the scheme, subject to constraints enforcing discrete proxies of the desired properties. We consider two such formulations in which the optimization variables are given by the nodal solution values and suitably defined nodal fluxes, respectively. A key result of the paper reveals that a standard Algebraic Flux Correction (AFC) scheme is a modified version of the second formulation obtained by shrinking its feasible set to a hypercube. We conclude with numerical studies illustrating the optimization-based formulations and comparing them with AFC.

Partial differential equations (PDEs) are used with huge success to model phenomena across all scientific and engineering disciplines. However, across an equally wide swath, there exist situations in which PDEs fail to adequately model observed phenomena, or are not the best available model for that purpose. On the other hand, in many situations, nonlocal models that account for interaction occurring at a distance have been shown to more faithfully and effectively model observed phenomena that involve possible singularities and other anomalies. In this article we consider a generic nonlocal model, beginning with a short review of its definition, the properties of its solution, its mathematical analysis and of specific concrete examples. We then provide extensive discussions about numerical methods, including finite element, finite difference and spectral methods, for determining approximate solutions of the nonlocal models considered. In that discussion, we pay particular attention to a special class of nonlocal models that are the most widely studied in the literature, namely those involving fractional derivatives. The article ends with brief considerations of several modelling and algorithmic extensions, which serve to show the wide applicability of nonlocal modelling.