Calculus of Variations and Geometric Measure Theory

L. Portinale

Discrete-to-Continuum Limits of Transport Problems and Gradient Flows in the Space of Measures

created by portinale on 23 Nov 2021


Phd Thesis

Inserted: 23 nov 2021
Last Updated: 23 nov 2021

Pages: 222
Year: 2021
Doi: 10.15479/at:ista:10030


This PhD thesis is primarily focused on the study of discrete transport problems, introduced for the first time in the seminal works of Maas Maa11 and Mielke Mie11 on finite state Markov chains and reaction-diffusion equations, respectively. More in detail, it focuses on the study of transport costs on graphs, in particular the convergence and the stability of such problems in the discrete-to-continuum limit. This thesis also includes some results concerning non-commutative optimal transport. The first chapter consists of a general introduction to the optimal transport problems, both in the discrete, the continuous, and the non-commutative setting. Chapters 2 and 3 present the content of two works, obtained in collaboration with Peter Gladbach, Eva Kopfer, and Jan Maas, about the convergence of discrete transport costs on periodic graphs to suitable continuous ones, which can be described by means of a homogenisation result. We first focus on the particular case of quadratic costs on the real line and then extending the result to more general costs in arbitrary dimension. In Chapter 4, we show that discrete gradient flow structures associated to a finite volume approximation of a certain class of diffusive equations (Fokker–Planck) is stable in the limit of vanishing meshes, reproving the convergence of the scheme via the method of evolutionary Γ-convergence and exploiting a more variational point of view on the problem. This is based on a collaboration with Dominik Forkert and Jan Maas. In Chapter 5, we present a non-commutative version of the Schrödinger problem (or entropic regularised optimal transport problem) and discuss existence and characterisation of minimisers, a duality result, and present a non-commutative version of the well-known Sinkhorn algorithm to compute the above mentioned optimisers. This is based on a joint work with Dario Feliciangeli and Augusto Gerolin. Finally, Appendix A and B contain some additional material and discussions, with particular attention to Harnack inequalities and the regularity of flows on discrete spaces.