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Parameter and state estimation in nonlinear dynamical systems


This thesis is concerned with the problem of state and parameter estimation in nonlinear systems. The need to evaluate unknown parameters in models of nonlinear physical, biophysical and engineering systems occurs throughout the development of phenomenological or reduced models of dynamics. When verifying and validating these models, it is important to incorporate information from observations in an efficient manner. Using the idea of synchronization of nonlinear dynamical systems, this thesis develops a framework for presenting data to a candidate model of a physical process in a way that makes efficient use of the measured data while allowing for estimation of the unknown parameters in the model. The approach presented here builds on existing work that uses synchronization as a tool for parameter estimation. Some critical issues of stability in that work are addressed and a practical framework is developed for overcoming these difficulties. The central issue is the choice of coupling strength between the model and data. If the coupling is too strong, the model will reproduce the measured data regardless of the adequacy of the model or correctness of the parameters. If the coupling is too weak, nonlinearities in the dynamics could lead to complex dynamics rendering any cost function comparing the model to the data inadequate for the determination of model parameters. Two methods are introduced which seek to balance the need for coupling with the desire to allow the model to evolve in its natural manner without coupling. One method, ̀balanced' synchronization, adds to the synchronization cost function a requirement that the conditional Lyapunov exponents of the model system, conditioned on being driven by the data, remain negative but small in magnitude. Another method allows the coupling between the data and the model to vary in time according to a specific form of differential equation. The coupling dynamics is damped to allow for a tendency toward zero coupling and driven by the synchronization error to increase coupling when needed. This method, along with a suitable cost function, allows for the determination of model parameters without the complexity of calculating Lyapunov exponents. Lastly, a method is developed allowing the coupling to vary in time without the constraint of following a differential equation. This approach shows the equivalence of the parameter and state estimation problem to that of tracking within an optimal control framework. This equivalence allows the application of powerful numerical methods that provide robust practical tools for model development and validation. Examples of each of these methods are presented with both simulated data and data measured from electrical circuit implementations of several dynamical systems

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