Physics-Constrained Gaussian Process Model for Prediction of Hydrodynamic Interactions Between Wave Energy Converters in an Array

Min Li, Gaofeng Jia, Hussam Mahmoud, Yi-Hsiang Yu, Nathan Tom

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus Citations


To improve the efficiency of wave farms and achieve maximum power generation, the layout of wave energy converters (WECs) in an array needs to be carefully designed so that the hydrodynamic interactions can be positively exploited. For this, the hydrodynamic characteristics of the WEC array in different layouts need to be calculated. However, such calculations using numerical models usually entail significant computational cost, especially for large arrays of WECs. To address the computational challenge, a physics-constrained Gaussian process (GP) model is proposed to replace the original expensive numerical model and predict the hydrodynamic characteristics of the WECs for any array layout. By exploring the relationship between the WEC array (i.e., the input) and different hydrodynamic characteristics (i.e., the output), we summarize a set of physical constraints/features, including invariance, symmetry, and additivity. This prior knowledge about the input-output relationship is then directly embedded in the constructed GP model through the design of physics-constrained kernels. In particular, a double-sum invariant kernel is first developed to incorporate the invariance and symmetry features, and then an additive kernel is developed to incorporate the additive feature of the problem. The invariant kernel and the additive kernel are then integrated to construct the physics-constrained GP model. Compared to the standard GP model, the proposed physics-constrained GP models require less training data to achieve the desired accuracy in predicting the hydrodynamic characteristics and are also less vulnerable to the curse of dimensionality (i.e., good scalability for large arrays) due to the use of an additive kernel. The efficiency, accuracy, and scalability of the proposed approach are demonstrated through an application to predict the hydrodynamic characteristics for WEC arrays of different sizes and layouts.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)465-485
Number of pages21
JournalApplied Mathematical Modelling
StatePublished - 2023

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2023 Elsevier Inc.

NREL Publication Number

  • NREL/JA-5700-82373


  • Gaussian process model
  • Hydrodynamic characteristics
  • Kernel design
  • Physical constraints
  • Wave energy converters


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