Investigation of Nonlinear Model Order Reduction of the Quasigeostrophic Equations through a Physics-Informed Convolutional Autoencoder

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Reduced order modeling (ROM) is a field of techniques that approximates complex physics-based models of real-world processes by inexpensive surrogates that capture important dynamical characteristics with a smaller number of degrees of freedom. Traditional ROM techniques such as proper orthogonal decomposition (POD) focus on linear projections of the dynamics onto a set of spectral features. In this paper we explore the construction of ROM using autoencoders (AE) that perform nonlinear projections of the system dynamics onto a low dimensional manifold learned from data. The approach uses convolutional neural networks (CNN) to learn spatial features as opposed to spectral, and utilize a physics informed (PI) cost function in order to capture temporal features as well. Our investigation using the quasi-geostrophic equations reveals that while the PI cost function helps with spatial reconstruction, spatial features are less powerful than spectral features, and that construction of ROMs through machine learning-based methods requires significant investigation into novel non-standard methodologies.