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# General Covariance Data Augmentation for Neural PDE Solvers

*Proceedings of the 40th International Conference on Machine Learning*, PMLR 202:9665-9688, 2023.

#### Abstract

The growing body of research shows how to replace classical partial differential equation (PDE) integrators with neural networks. The popular strategy is to generate the input-output pairs with a PDE solver, train the neural network in the regression setting, and use the trained model as a cheap surrogate for the solver. The bottleneck in this scheme is the number of expensive queries of a PDE solver needed to generate the dataset. To alleviate the problem, we propose a computationally cheap augmentation strategy based on general covariance and simple random coordinate transformations. Our approach relies on the fact that physical laws are independent of the coordinate choice, so the change in the coordinate system preserves the type of a parametric PDE and only changes PDE’s data (e.g., initial conditions, diffusion coefficient). For tried neural networks and partial differential equations, proposed augmentation improves test error by 23% on average. The worst observed result is a 17% increase in test error for multilayer perceptron, and the best case is a 80% decrease for dilated residual network.