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Fast numerical methods for robust nonlinear optimal control under uncertainty

Bergner, Lilli

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Abstract

This thesis treats different aspects of nonlinear optimal control problems under uncertainty in which the uncertain parameters are modeled probabilistically. We apply the polynomial chaos expansion, a well known method for uncertainty quantification, to obtain deterministic surrogate optimal control problems. Their size and complexity pose a computational challenge for traditional optimal control methods. For nonlinear optimal control, this difficulty is increased because a high polynomial expansion order is necessary to derive meaningful statements about the nonlinear and asymmetric uncertainty propagation. To this end, we develop an adaptive optimization strategy which refines the approximation quality separately for each state variable using suitable error estimates. The benefits are twofold: we obtain additional means for solution verification and reduce the computational effort for finding an approximate solution with increased precision. The algorithmic contribution is complemented by a convergence proof showing that the solutions of the optimal control problem after application of the polynomial chaos method approach the correct solution for increasing expansion orders. To obtain a further speed-up in solution time, we develop a structure-exploiting algorithm for the fast derivative generation. The algorithm makes use of the special structure induced by the spectral projection to reuse model derivatives and exploit sparsity information leading to a fast automatic sensitivity generation. This greatly reduces the computational effort of Newton-type methods for the solution of the resulting high-dimensional surrogate problem. Another challenging topic of this thesis are optimal control problems with chance constraints, which form a probabilistic robustification of the solution that is neither too conservative nor underestimates the risk. We develop an efficient method based on the polynomial chaos expansion to compute nonlinear propagations of the reachable sets of all uncertain states and show how it can be used to approximate individual and joint chance constraints. The strength of the obtained estimator in guaranteeing a satisfaction level is supported by providing an a-priori error estimate with exponential convergence in case of sufficiently smooth solutions. All methods developed in this thesis are readily implemented in state-of-the-art direct methods to optimal control. Their performance and suitability for optimal control problems is evaluated in a numerical case study on two nonlinear real-world problems using Monte Carlo simulations to illustrate the effects of the propagated uncertainty on the optimal control solution. As an industrial application, we solve a challenging optimal control problem modeling an adsorption refrigeration system under uncertainty.

Item Type: Dissertation
Supervisor: Kirches, Prof. Dr. Christian
Date of thesis defense: 14 February 2018
Date Deposited: 26 Mar 2018 12:40
Date: 2018
Faculties / Institutes: The Faculty of Mathematics and Computer Science > Dean's Office of The Faculty of Mathematics and Computer Science
Service facilities > Interdisciplinary Center for Scientific Computing
Subjects: 510 Mathematics
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