The geometric approach to mechanics serves as the theoretical underpinning of innovative control methodologies in geometric control theory. These techniques allow the attitude of satellites to be controlled using changes in its shape, as opposed to chemical propulsion, and are the basis for understanding the ability of a falling cat to always land on its feet, even when released in an inverted orientation.
We will discuss the application of geometric structure-preserving numerical schemes to the optimal control of mechanical systems. In particular, we consider Lie group variational integrators, which are based on a discretization of Hamilton's principle that preserves the Lie group structure of the configuration space. In contrast to traditional Lie group integrators, issues of equivariance and order-of-accuracy are independent of the choice of retraction in the variational formulation. The importance of simultaneously preserving the symplectic and Lie group properties is also demonstrated.
In addition, we will introduce a numerically robust shooting based optimization algorithm that relies on the conservation properties of geometric integrators to accurately compute sensitivity derivatives, thereby yielding an optimization algorithm for the control of mechanical systems that is exceptionally efficient. The role of geometric phases in these control algorithms will also be addressed.
Recent extensions to homogeneous spaces yield intrinsic methods for Hamiltonian flows on the sphere, and have potential applications to the simulation of geometric exact rods, structures and mechanisms.
The research has been supported in part by NSF grant DMS-0726263 and DMS-0504747.
- http://www.math.purdue.edu/~mleok/ - Melvin Leok's homepage