Optimal transport and diffusion of currents

Abstract : Our work concerns about the study of partial differential equations at the hinge of the continuum physics and differential geometry. The starting point is the model of non-linear electromagnetism introduced by Max Born and Leopold Infeld in 1934 as a substitute for the traditional linear Maxwell's equations. These equations are remarkable for their links with differential geometry (extremal surfaces in the Minkowski space) and have regained interest in the 90s in high-energy physics (strings and D-branches).The thesis is composed of four chapters.The theory of nonlinear degenerate parabolic systems of PDEs is not very developed because they can not apply the usual comparison principles (maximum principle), despite their omnipresence in many applications (physics, mechanics, digital imaging, geometry, etc.). In the first chapter, we show how such systems can sometimes be derived, asymptotically, from non-dissipative systems (typically non-linear hyperbolic systems), by simple non-linear change of the time variable degenerate at the origin (where the initial data are set). The advantage of this point of view is that it is possible to transfer some hyperbolic techniques to parabolic equations, which seems at first sight surprising, since parabolic equations have the reputation of being easier to treat (which is not true , in reality, in the case of degenerate systems). The chapter deals with the curve-shortening flow as a prototype, which is the simplest exemple of the mean curvature flows in co-dimension higher than 1. It is shown how this model can be derived from the two-dimensional extremal surface in the Minkowski space (corresponding to the classical relativistic strings), which can be reduced to a hyperbolic system. We obtain, almost automatically, the parabolic version of the relative entropy method and weak-strong uniqueness, which, in fact, is much simpler to establish and understand in the hyperbolic framework.In the second chapter, the same method applies to the Born-Infeld system itself, which makes it possible to obtain, in the limit, a model (not listed to our knowledge) of Magnetohydrodynamics (MHD) where we have non-linear diffusions in the magnetic induction equation and the Darcy's law for the velocity field. It is remarkable that a system of such distant appearance of the basic principles of physics can be so directly derived from a model of physics as fundamental and geometrical as that of Born-Infeld.In the third chapter, a link is established between the parabolic systems and the concept of gradient flow of differential forms with suitable transport metrics. In the case of volume forms, this concept has had an extraordinary success in the field of optimal transport theory, especially after the founding work of Felix Otto and his collaborators. This concept is really only on its beginnings: in this chapter, we study a variant of the curve-shortening flow studied in the first chapter, which has the advantage of being integrable (in a certain sense) and lead to more precise results.Finally, in the fourth chapter, we return to the domain of hyperbolic EDPs considering, in the particular case of graphs, the extremal surfaces of the Minkowski space of any dimension and co-dimension. We can show that the equations can be reformulated in the form of a symmetric first-order enlarged system (which automatically ensures the well-posedness of the equations) of a remarkably simple structure (very similar to the Burgers equation) with quadratic nonlinearities, whose calculation is not obvious.
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Xianglong Duan. Optimal transport and diffusion of currents. Analysis of PDEs [math.AP]. Université Paris-Saclay, 2017. English. ⟨NNT : 2017SACLX054⟩. ⟨tel-01686781⟩

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