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https://doi.org/10.12988/astp.2017.71156

Variational Calculus

Pedro Pablo Cárdenas Alzate

Universidad Tecnológica de Pereira

Pereira, Colombia

Fernando Mesa

Universidad Tecnológica de Pereira

Pereira, Colombia

Department of Mathematics

Universidad Tecnológica de Pereira

Pereira, Colombia

Copyright

c 2017 Pedro Pablo Cárdenas Alzate et al. This article is distributed under

the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution,

and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

Abstract

tiable function. Similarly, we prove that the function φ associated with

the problem and defined in HT1 reaches a minimum using the classical

theorems of the calculation of variations.

726 Pedro Pablo Cárdenas Alzate et al.

1 Introduction

Minimization principles form one of the most wide-ranging means of formulat-

ing mathematical models governing physical systems. In this paper, we will

develop the basic mathematical analysis of nonlinear minimization principles

on infinite-dimensional function spaces a subject known as the calculus of vari-

ations, for reasons that will be explained as soon as we present the basic ideas.

Classical solutions to minimization problems in the calculus of variations are

prescribed by boundary value problems involving certain types of differential

equations, known as the associated Euler-Lagrange equations.

with collisions from classical solutions, since generally the presence of collisions

does not result in a significant increment in the value of the action functional.

Minimization problems that can be analyzed by the calculus of variations (vari-

ational calculus) serve to characterize the equilibrium configurations of almost

all continuous physical systems. Many geometrical configurations, such as min-

imal surfaces, can be conveniently formulated as optimization problems. More-

over, numerical approximations to the equilibrium solutions of such boundary

value problems are based on a nonlinear finite element approach that reduced

the infinite-dimensional minimization problem to a finite-dimensional problem,

to which we can apply the optimization techniques of variational calculus.

Z T 0 2

|x (t)|

φ(x) = + F (t, x(t)) dt.

0 2

Here, F : [0, T ] × RN → R is a function continuous such that:

• Let x 7→ F (t, x) be continuously differentiable for all t ∈ [0, T ]; we denote

∂F ∂F

∇F (t, x) = (t, x), · · · , (t, x)

∂x1 ∂xN

|F (t, x)| ≤ a(|x|)b(t), |∇F | ≤ a(|x|)b(t), ∀(t, x) ∈ [0, T ] × RN .

In this section we will show that there is x ∈ HT1 such that φ0 (x) = 0 and

therefore the periodic problem

x00 (t) = ∇F (t, x(t)), t ∈ [0, T ]

On a periodic problem using variational calculus 727

has a solution. In fact, first we can associate with this problem the function

given by

1

L(t, x, x0 ) = |x0 |2 + F (t, x), (1)

2

with L : [0, T ] × RN × RN → R; F : [0, T ] × RN → R and (t, x, x0 ) ∈ [0, T ] ×

RN × RN . Now, we can see that p → L(t, x, p) is a convex function for every

(t, x) ∈ [0, T ] × RN . Therefore, let

and Z T

A(x) : L(t, x(t), x0 (t)) dt.

0

the periodic problem is a necessary condition for the variational problem

Z T

min A(x), A(x) = L(t, x(t), x0 (t)) dt, (2)

x∈Ω 0

problem. Now, for a continuously differentiable function, let’s say

S : [0, T ] × RN → R,

which satisfies

∂S ∂S

S(0, x) = S(T, x), (0, x) = (T, x), x ∈ RN (3)

∂t ∂t

so we define

∂S

L̃(t, x, p) = L(t, x, p) − (t, x) − h∇S(t, x), pi

∂t

and

Z T

Ã(x) = L̃(t, x(t), x0 (t)) dt,

0

728 Pedro Pablo Cárdenas Alzate et al.

Z T Z T

0

A(x) − Ã(x) = L(t, x(t), x (t)) dt − L̃(t, x(t), x0 (t)) dt

0 0

Z T

∂S

= (t, x(t)) + h∇S(t, x(t)), x0 (t)i dt

0 ∂t

Z T

= (d/dt)S(t, x(t)) dt = S(T, x(T )) − S(0, x(0)) = 0.

0

Z T

min Ã(x), Ã(x) = L̃(t, x(t), x0 (t)) dt. (4)

x∈Ω 0

We can conclude that we can obtain the solution of the original problem

by solving (4).

L̃(t, x, p) ≥ 0. (5)

L̃(t, x, p) = 0. (6)

i.e., we look for a function S which satisfies (3) and such that the function L̃ is

not negative, with the property only for each (t, x) ∈ [0, T ] × RN , this function

L̃ reaches a minimum in z(t, x).

(3). If x∗ : [0, T ] → RN is a solution of the following problem

On a periodic problem using variational calculus 729

the original problem.

To prove it, let x∗ : [0, T ] → RN a solution of (8), then (7) and x(0) = x(T )

0 0

given x∗ (0) = x∗ (T ), which implies that x∗ ∈ Ω. Using (5) and (6) we have

that

Therefore, for any x ∈ Ω we have

Z T

∗ 0

A(x) − A(x ) = L(t, x(t), x0 (t)) − L(t, x∗ (t), x∗ (t)) dt

0

Z T

= L̃(t, x(t), x0 (t)) − L̃(t, x∗ (t), z(t, x∗ (t))) dt

0

Z T

∂S ∗ ∗ ∗

− (t, x (t)) + h∇S(t, x (t)), z(t, x (t))i dt

0 ∂t

Z T

= L̃(t, x(t), x0 (t)) − L̃(t, x∗ (t), z(t, x∗ (t))) dt

0

Z T Z T

∗

− (d/dt)S(t, x (t)) dt + (d/dt)S(t, x(t)) dt

0 0

Z T

= L̃(t, x(t), x0 (t)) − L̃(t, x∗ (t), z(t, x∗ (t))) dt

0

− (S(T, x∗ (T )) − S(0, x∗ (0))) + (S(T, x(T )) − S(0, x(0)))

Z T

= L̃(t, x(t), x0 (t)) − L̃(t, x∗ (t), z(t, x∗ (t))) dt ≥ 0,

0

i.e., we obtain

A(x) ≥ A(x∗ ), ∀x ∈ Ω.

3 Conclusion

In this paper we have tried some classic results of the calculation of variations

applied to the existence of a periodic problem. We have shown the existence

of a minimum for the associated periodic problem.

suggestions that improved the presentation of this paper and our gratitude

730 Pedro Pablo Cárdenas Alzate et al.

(Colombia) and the group GEDNOL.

References

[1] W. Yang, Applied Numerical Methods Using MatLab, John Wiley, 2005.

https://doi.org/10.1002/0471705195

ditions for FVPs in terms of the Caputo derivative, Journal of Vibration

and Control, 13 (2007), 1217-1237.

https://doi.org/10.1177/1077546307077472

[3] Dinh Nho Hao, B.T. Johansson, D. Lesnic, Pham Minh Hien, A varia-

tional method and approximations of a Cauchy problem for elliptic equa-

tions, J. Algorithms Comput. Technol., 4 (2010), 89-119.

https://doi.org/10.1260/1748-3018.4.1.89

Editorial Dykinson, 2007.

Kind, Cambridge University Press,Cambridge, 1997.

https://doi.org/10.1017/cbo9780511626340

Schemes for Linear Advection Equation, Advances in Pure Mathematics,

4 (2014), 467-479. https://doi.org/10.4236/apm.2014.48052

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Mathematics Letters, 2 (2011), 1647-1653.

https://doi.org/10.1016/j.aml.2011.04.005

Carlo Methods, Sequential Monte Carlo Methods in Practice, Springer

2001, 3-14. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-1-4757-3437-9 1

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