Tracking controllability for the heat equation

J.A. Barcena-Petisco, E. Zuazua. Tracking controllability for the heat equation (2024)

Abstract. We study the tracking or sidewise control- lability of the heat equation. More precisely, we seek for controls that, acting on part of the boundary of the domain where the heat process evolves, aim to assure that the normal trace or flux on the complementary set tracks a given trajectory.
The dual equivalent observability problem is identified. It consists on estimating the boundary sources, localized on a given subset of the boundary, out of boundary measurements on the complementary subset.
Classical unique continuation and smoothing properties of the heat equation allow us proving approximate tracking controllability properties and the smoothness of the class of trackable trajectories.
We also develop a new transmutation method which allows to transfer known results on the sidewise controllability of the wave equation to the tracking controllability of the heat one.
Using the flatness approach we also give explicit estimates on the cost of approximate tracking control.
The analysis is complemented with a discussion of some possible variants of these results and a list of open problems.

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