On the optimal control of the free boundary problems for the
second order parabolic equations. I. Wellposedness and convergence of the method of lines
Ugur G. Abdulla  Department of Mathematics, Florida Institute of Technology, Melbourne, Florida 32901, United States (email) Abstract: We develop a new variational formulation of the inverse Stefan problem, where information on the heat flux on the fixed boundary is missing and must be found along with the temperature and free boundary. We employ optimal control framework, where boundary heat flux and free boundary are components of the control vector, and optimality criteria consists of the minimization of the sum of $L_2$norm declinations from the available measurement of the temperature flux on the fixed boundary and available information on the phase transition temperature on the free boundary. This approach allows one to tackle situations when the phase transition temperature is not known explicitly, and is available through measurement with possible error. It also allows for the development of iterative numerical methods of least computational cost due to the fact that for every given control vector, the parabolic PDE is solved in a fixed region instead of full free boundary problem. We prove wellposedness in Sobolev spaces framework and convergence of discrete optimal control problems to the original problem both with respect to cost functional and control.
Keywords: Inverse Stefan problem, optimal control, second order parabolic PDE, Sobolev spaces, energy estimate, embedding theorems, traces of Sobolev functions, method of lines, discrete optimal control problem,
convergence in functional, convergence in control.
Received: March 2012; Revised: October 2012; Available Online: May 2013. 
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