# Solving a discrete boundary-value problem in scipy¶

## Mathematical formulation¶

We consider a nonlinear elliptic boundary-value problem in a square domain $\Omega = [0, 1] \times [0, 1]$: $$\Delta u + k f(u) = 0 \\ u = 0 \text{ on } \partial \Omega$$

Here $u = u(x,y)$ is an unknown function, $\Delta$ is Laplace operator, $k$ is some constant and $f(u)$ is a given function.

A usual computational approach to such problems is discretization. We use a uniform grid with some step $h$, and define $u_{i, j} = u(i h , jh)$. By approximating Laplace operator using 5-point finite difference we get a system of equations in the form: $$u_{i - 1, j} + u_{i + 1, j} + u_{i, j - 1} + u_{i, j + 1} - 4 u_{i,j} + c f(u_{i,j}) = 0 \\ u_{i, j} = 0 \text{ on } \partial \Omega$$

Here $c = k h^2$.

## Defining the problem for scipy¶

From now on we focus on the discrete version and consider a grid with $n = 100$ ticks for each dimension and set $c = 1$ and $f(u) = u^3$.

In :
%matplotlib inline
import matplotlib.pyplot as plt
import numpy as np
from scipy.optimize import least_squares
from scipy.sparse import coo_matrix

In :
n = 100
c = 1

In :
def f(u):
return u**3

def f_prime(u):
return 3 * u**2


To solve the system of equations we will use scipy.optimize.least_squares.

We define a function computing left-hand sides of each equation. Note that we assume values on the boundary to be fixed at zeros and don't change them during optimization.

In :
def fun(u, n, f, f_prime, c, **kwargs):
v = np.zeros((n + 2, n + 2))
u = u.reshape((n, n))
v[1:-1, 1:-1] = u
y = v[:-2, 1:-1] + v[2:, 1:-1] + v[1:-1, :-2] + v[1:-1, 2:] - 4 * u + c * f(u)
return y.ravel()


It is always recommened to provide analytical Jacobian if possible. In our problem we have $n^2=10000$ equations and variables, but each equation depends only on few variables, thus we should compute Jacobian in a sparse format.

It is convenient to precompute indices of rows and columns of nonzero elements in Jacobian. We definte the corresponding function:

In :
def compute_jac_indices(n):
i = np.arange(n)
jj, ii = np.meshgrid(i, i)

ii = ii.ravel()
jj = jj.ravel()

ij = np.arange(n**2)

jac_rows = [ij]
jac_cols = [ij]

mask = ii > 0

mask = ii < n - 1

mask = jj > 0

mask = jj < n - 1

return np.hstack(jac_rows), np.hstack(jac_cols)


After that computing Jacobian in coo_matrix format is simple:

In :
jac_rows, jac_cols = compute_jac_indices(n)

In :
def jac(u, n, f, f_prime, c, jac_rows=None, jac_cols=None):
jac_values = np.ones_like(jac_cols, dtype=float)
jac_values[:n**2] = -4 + c * f_prime(u)
return coo_matrix((jac_values, (jac_rows, jac_cols)), shape=(n**2, n**2))


## Solving the problem¶

Without any insight to the problem we set all the values to 0.5 initially. Note, that it is not guranteed that the given continuous or discrete problems have a unique solution.

In :
u0 = np.ones(n**2) * 0.5


Precompute rows and columns of nonzero elements in Jacobian:

In :
jac_rows, jac_cols = compute_jac_indices(n)


Now we are ready to run the optimization. The first solution will be computed without imposing any bounds on the variables.

In :
res_1 = least_squares(fun, u0, jac=jac, gtol=1e-3, args=(n, f, f_prime, c), kwargs={'jac_rows': jac_rows, 'jac_cols': jac_cols}, verbose=1)

gtol termination condition is satisfied.
Function evaluations 106, initial cost 1.0412e+02, final cost 5.2767e-03, first-order optimality 9.04e-04.


Below we visualize the first solution. The left plot shows the flatten solution, the middle plot shows how the solution looks in the square domain, and the right plot shows final residuals in each node.

In :
plt.figure(figsize=(16, 5))
plt.subplot(132)
plt.imshow(res_1.x.reshape((n, n)), cmap='coolwarm', vmin=-max(abs(res_1.x)), vmax=max(abs(res_1.x)))
plt.subplot(131)
plt.plot(res_1.x)
plt.subplot(133)
plt.plot(res_1.fun)
plt.tight_layout() It is possible that some physical considerations require that the solution must be non-negative everywhere. We can achieve that by specifying bounds to the solver:

In :
res_2 = least_squares(fun, u0, jac=jac, bounds=(0, np.inf), gtol=1e-3,
args=(n, f, f_prime, c), kwargs={'jac_rows': jac_rows, 'jac_cols': jac_cols}, verbose=1)

gtol termination condition is satisfied.
Function evaluations 34, initial cost 1.0412e+02, final cost 4.1342e-02, first-order optimality 9.55e-04.

In :
plt.figure(figsize=(16, 5))
plt.subplot(132)
plt.imshow(res_2.x.reshape((n, n)), cmap='Reds')
plt.subplot(131)
plt.plot(res_2.x)
plt.subplot(133)
plt.plot(res_2.fun)
plt.tight_layout() We see that setting a lower bound allowed us to find a different non-negative solution.

You can try running optimization from different starting points, using different bounds or changing $c$ and $f(u)$, and see how it affects the result from least_squares solver.

In [ ]:



Section author: Nikolay Mayorov