D-CODE: Discovering Closed-form ODEs from Observed TrajectoriesDownload PDF

Published: 28 Jan 2022, Last Modified: 13 Feb 2023ICLR 2022 SpotlightReaders: Everyone
Keywords: Symbolic Regression, Ordinary Differential Equation
Abstract: For centuries, scientists have manually designed closed-form ordinary differential equations (ODEs) to model dynamical systems. An automated tool to distill closed-form ODEs from observed trajectories would accelerate the modeling process. Traditionally, symbolic regression is used to uncover a closed-form prediction function $a=f(b)$ with label-feature pairs $(a_i, b_i)$ as training examples. However, an ODE models the time derivative $\dot{x}(t)$ of a dynamical system, e.g. $\dot{x}(t) = f(x(t),t)$, and the "label" $\dot{x}(t)$ is usually *not* observed. The existing ways to bridge this gap only perform well for a narrow range of settings with low measurement noise, frequent sampling, and non-chaotic dynamics. In this work, we propose the Discovery of Closed-form ODE framework (D-CODE), which advances symbolic regression beyond the paradigm of supervised learning. D-CODE leverages a novel objective function based on the variational formulation of ODEs to bypass the unobserved time derivative. For formal justification, we prove that this objective is a valid proxy for the estimation error of the true (but unknown) ODE. In the experiments, D-CODE successfully discovered the governing equations of a diverse range of dynamical systems under challenging measurement settings with high noise and infrequent sampling.
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