An Extensible Benchmark Suite for Learning to Simulate Physical Systems

Part of Proceedings of the Neural Information Processing Systems Track on Datasets and Benchmarks 1 (NeurIPS Datasets and Benchmarks 2021)

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Karl Otness, Arvi Gjoka, Joan Bruna, Daniele Panozzo, Benjamin Peherstorfer, Teseo Schneider, Denis Zorin


Simulating physical systems is a core component of scientific computing, encompassing a wide range of physical domains and applications. Recently, there has been a surge in data-driven methods to complement traditional numerical simulation methods, motivated by the opportunity to reduce computational costs and/or learn new physical models leveraging access to large collections of data. However, the diversity of problem settings and applications has led to a plethora of approaches, each one evaluated on a different setup and with different evaluation metrics. We introduce a set of benchmark problems to take a step towards unified benchmarks and evaluation protocols. We propose four representative physical systems, as well as a collection of both widely used classical time integrators and representative data-driven methods (kernel-based, MLP, CNN, nearest neighbors). Our framework allows evaluating objectively and systematically the stability, accuracy, and computational efficiency of data-driven methods. Additionally, it is configurable to permit adjustments for accommodating other learning tasks and for establishing a foundation for future developments in machine learning for scientific computing.