Machine learning with observers predicts complex spatiotemporal behavior

George Neofotistos, Marios Mattheakis, Georgios D. Barmparis, Johanne Hizanidis, Giorgos P. Tsironis, Efthimios Kaxiras

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)


Chimeras and branching are two archetypical complex phenomena that appear in many physical systems; because of their different intrinsic dynamics, they delineate opposite non-trivial limits in the complexity of wave motion and present severe challenges in predicting chaotic and singular behavior in extended physical systems. We report on the long-term forecasting capability of Long Short-Term Memory (LSTM) and reservoir computing (RC) recurrent neural networks, when they are applied to the spatiotemporal evolution of turbulent chimeras in simulated arrays of coupled superconducting quantum interference devices (SQUIDs) or lasers, and branching in the electronic flow of two-dimensional graphene with random potential. We propose a new method in which we assign one LSTM network to each system node except for "observer" nodes which provide continual "ground truth" measurements as input; we refer to this method as "Observer LSTM" (OLSTM). We demonstrate that even a small number of observers greatly improves the data-driven (model-free) long-term forecasting capability of the LSTM networks and provide the framework for a consistent comparison between the RC and LSTM methods. We find that RC requires smaller training datasets than OLSTMs, but the latter require fewer observers. Both methods are benchmarked against Feed-Forward neural networks (FNNs), also trained to make predictions with observers (OFNNs).

Original languageEnglish
Article number24
JournalFrontiers in Physics
Issue numberMAR
Publication statusPublished - 2019


  • Branched flow
  • Chimera state
  • Graphene
  • Long short-term memory
  • Machine learning
  • Prediction
  • Reservoir computing

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biophysics
  • Materials Science (miscellaneous)
  • Mathematical Physics
  • Physics and Astronomy(all)
  • Physical and Theoretical Chemistry

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