Numerical analysis of a topology optimization problem for Stokes flow / Estimates and regularity for a class of augmented Hessian equations, and a fully nonlinear generalisation of the Yamabe problem

21 January 2021
Ioannis Papadopoulos / Jonah Duncan

A topology optimization problem for Stokes flow finds the optimal material distribution of a fluid in Stokes flow that minimizes the fluid’s power dissipation under a volume constraint. In 2003, T. Borrvall and J. Petersson [1] formulated a nonconvex optimization problem for this objective. They proved the existence of minimizers in the infinite-dimensional setting and showed that a suitably chosen finite element method will converge in a weak(-*) sense to an unspecified solution. In this talk, we will extend and refine their numerical analysis. In particular, we will show that there exist finite element functions, satisfying the necessary first-order conditions of optimality, that converge strongly to each isolated local minimizer of the problem.


Fully nonlinear PDEs involving the eigenvalues of matrix-valued differential operators (such as the Hessian) have been the subject of intensive study over the last few decades, since the seminal work of Caffarelli, Kohn, Nirenberg and Spruck. In this talk I will discuss some recent joint work with Luc Nguyen on the regularity theory for a large class of these equations, with a particular emphasis on a special case known as the sigma_k-Yamabe equation, which arises in conformal geometry. 


[1] T. Borrvall, J. Petersson, Topology optimization of fluids in Stokes flow, International Journal for Numerical Methods in Fluids 41 (1) (2003) 77–107. doi:10.1002/fld.426.

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