22 Jan DARE investigators redefine the Finite Element Method for the data age
DARE Chief Investigator, Dr Edward Cripps, and DARE International Partner Investigator, Alan Turing Institute’s Professor Mark Girolami, together with researchers at The University of Western Australia (UWA), have recently published landmark research on the combination of data science and computational mathematics to radically improve physical model predictions within the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS).
The research paper provides a statistical redefinition of the well-known Finite Element Method (FEM), which has been used as a computational predictive tool in the engineering and physical sciences for more than 70 years.
Ed Cripps explained that the current technological revolution in data acquisition has provided an opportunity to augment FEMs with statistical techniques. “We now have a very natural method to calibrate and improve data based FEM predictions and, importantly, to understand their residual uncertainty.”
“It is especially exciting for DARE where FEM predictions are used extensively in hydrology and geology, two of DARE’s core domain applications.”
The research was motivated by the earlier recent work of Cripps and Girolami on the modelling of solitons: large amplitude, internal oceanic waves. Connor Duffin, PhD student from UWA’s School of Physics, Mathematics and Computing and lead author on the PNAS paper, explained: “These large amplitudes not only introduce strong ocean turbulence that impacts local fertilization and biology, and but also influence decisions and designs regarding offshore engineering structures such as wind turbines.”
Girolami said of the commercial interest: “The idea of Digital Twins – the pairing of the physical and digital world – is of significant current interest to the broader engineering community. By systematically integrating data with FEMs, this new work provides the much-needed theoretical foundations, methodology and practical algorithms by which these Digital Twins can be realised.”
“It is especially exciting for DARE where FEM predictions are used extensively in hydrology and geology, two of DARE’s core domain applications.“
– Dr Edward Cripps