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Workshop: The Symbiosis of Deep Learning and Differential Equations II

A PINN Approach to Symbolic Differential Operator Discovery with Sparse Data

Brydon Eastman · Lena Podina · Mohammad Kohandel


Given ample experimental data from a system governed by differential equations, it is possible to use deep learning techniques to construct the underlying differential operators. In this work we perform symbolic discovery of differential operators in a situation where there is sparse experimental data. This small data regime in machine learning can be made tractable by providing our algorithms with prior information about the underlying dynamics. Physics Informed Neural Networks (PINNs) have been very successful in this regime (reconstructing entire ODE solutions using only a single point or entire PDE solutions with very few measurements of the initial condition). We modify the PINN approach by adding a neural network that learns a representation of unknown hidden terms in the differential equation. The algorithm yields both a surrogate solution to the differential equation and a black-box representation of the hidden terms. These hidden term neural networks can then be converted into symbolic equations using symbolic regression techniques like AI Feynman. In order to achieve convergence of these neural networks, we provide our algorithms with (noisy) measurements of both the initial condition as well as (synthetic) experimental data obtained at later times. We demonstrate strong performance of this approach even when provided with very few measurements of noisy data in both the ODE and PDE regime.

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