Learning to Control PDEs with Differentiable Physics

Abstract

Predicting outcomes and planning interactions with the physical world are long-standing goals for machine learning. A variety of such tasks involves continuous physical systems, which can be described by partial differential equations (PDEs) with many degrees of freedom. Existing methods that aim to control the dynamics of such systems are typically limited to relatively short time frames or a small number of interaction parameters. We show that by using a differentiable PDE solver in conjunction with a novel predictor-corrector scheme, we can train neural networks to understand and control complex nonlinear physical systems over long time frames. We demonstrate that our method successfully develops an understanding of complex physical systems and learns to control them for tasks involving multiple PDEs, including the incompressible Navier-Stokes equations.

Materials