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Nonlocal-interaction equation on graphs: gradient flow structure and continuum limit

by   Antonio Esposito, et al.

We consider dynamics driven by interaction energies on graphs. We introduce graph analogues of the continuum nonlocal-interaction equation and interpret them as gradient flows with respect to a graph Wasserstein distance. The particular Wasserstein distance we consider arises from the graph analogue of the Benamou-Brenier formulation where the graph continuity equation uses an upwind interpolation to define the density along the edges. While this approach has both theoretical and computational advantages, the resulting distance is only a quasi-metric. We investigate this quasi-metric both on graphs and on more general structures where the set of "vertices" is an arbitrary positive measure. We call the resulting gradient flow of the nonlocal-interaction energy the nonlocal nonlocal-interaction equation (NL^2IE). We develop the existence theory for the solutions of the NL^2IE as curves of maximal slope with respect to the upwind Wasserstein quasi-metric. Furthermore, we show that the solutions of the NL^2IE on graphs converge as the empirical measures of the set of vertices converge weakly, which establishes a valuable discrete-to-continuum convergence result.


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