A robust framework for identification of PDEs from noisy data

Zhiming Zhang, Yongming Liu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations


Robust physics (e.g., governing equations and laws) discovery is of great interest for many engineering fields and explainable machine learning. A critical challenge compared with general training is that the term and format of governing equations are not known as a prior. In addition, significant measurement noise and complex algorithm hyperparameter tuning usually reduces the robustness of existing methods. A robust data-driven method is proposed in this study for identifying the governing Partial Differential Equations (PDEs) of a given system from noisy data. The proposed method is based on the concept of Progressive Sparse Identification of PDEs (PSI-PDE or ψ-PDE). Special focus is on the handling of data with huge uncertainties (e.g., 50% noise level). Neural Network modeling and fast Fourier transform (FFT) are implemented to reduce the influence of noise in sparse regression. Following this, candidate terms from the prescribed library are progressively selected and added to the learned PDEs, which automatically promotes parsimony with respect to the number of terms in PDEs as well as their complexity. Next, the significance of each learned terms is further evaluated and the coefficients of PDE terms are optimized by minimizing the L2 residuals. Results of numerical case studies indicate that the governing PDEs of many canonical dynamical systems can be correctly identified using the proposed ψ-PDE method with highly noisy data. Codes of all demonstrated examples are available on the website: https://github.com/ymlasu. One great benefit of proposed algorithm is that it avoids complex algorithm modification and hyperparameter tuning in most existing methods. Limitations of the proposed method and major findings are presented.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number110657
JournalJournal of Computational Physics
StatePublished - Dec 1 2021


  • Dynamical system
  • Partial differential equation
  • Physics discovery
  • Sparse regression
  • Uncertainty

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Numerical Analysis
  • Modeling and Simulation
  • Physics and Astronomy (miscellaneous)
  • General Physics and Astronomy
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Computational Mathematics
  • Applied Mathematics


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