Fluids and optimal transport: from Euler to Kantorovich

Speaker: 
Yann Brenier
Date: 
Mon, May 27, 2013
Location: 
PIMS, University of British Columbia
Conference: 
2013 Niven Lecture
Abstract: 
In 1757, Euler presented to the Berlin Academy of Sciences the basic equations of fluid mechanics. As pointed out by V.I. Arnold in 1966, the Euler equations for incompressible fluids have a very simple geometric interpretation that combines the concept of geodesics and the concept of volume preserving maps. The later concept is very simple and nothing but a continuous version of the discrete and more elementary concept of permutation. Conversely, the Euler equations have a natural discrete counterpart in terms of permutation and combinatorial optimization, which establishes a direct link with the mathematical theory of "optimal transport". This theory, that goes back to Monge 1781 and has been renewed by Kantorovich since 1942, is nowadays a flourishing field with many applications, in natural sciences, economics, differential geometry and analysis.

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