Nonuniqueness of minimizers for semilinear optimal control problems

D. Pighin. Nonuniqueness of minimizers for semilinear optimal control problems. J Eur. Math. Soc. (2021)

Abstract. A counterexample to uniqueness of global minimizers of semilinear optimal control problems is given. The lack of uniqueness occurs for a special choice of the state-target in the cost functional. Our arguments show also that, for some state-targets, there exist local minimizers, which are not global. When this occurs, gradient-type algorithms may be trapped by the local minimizers, thus missing the global ones. Furthermore, the issue of convexity of quadratic functional in optimal control is analyzed in an abstract setting.

As a Corollary of the nonuniqueness of the minimizers, a nonuniqueness result for a coupled elliptic system is deduced.

Numerical simulations have been performed illustrating the theoretical results.

We also discuss the possible impact of the multiplicity of minimizers on the turnpike property in long time horizons.

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