Reservoir computing as digital twins for nonlinear dynamical systems

Ling Wei Kong, Yang Weng, Bryan Glaz, Mulugeta Haile, Ying Cheng Lai

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

19 Scopus citations


We articulate the design imperatives for machine learning based digital twins for nonlinear dynamical systems, which can be used to monitor the "health"of the system and anticipate future collapse. The fundamental requirement for digital twins of nonlinear dynamical systems is dynamical evolution: the digital twin must be able to evolve its dynamical state at the present time to the next time step without further state input - a requirement that reservoir computing naturally meets. We conduct extensive tests using prototypical systems from optics, ecology, and climate, where the respective specific examples are a chaotic CO 2 laser system, a model of phytoplankton subject to seasonality, and the Lorenz-96 climate network. We demonstrate that, with a single or parallel reservoir computer, the digital twins are capable of a variety of challenging forecasting and monitoring tasks. Our digital twin has the following capabilities: (1) extrapolating the dynamics of the target system to predict how it may respond to a changing dynamical environment, e.g., a driving signal that it has never experienced before, (2) making continual forecasting and monitoring with sparse real-time updates under non-stationary external driving, (3) inferring hidden variables in the target system and accurately reproducing/predicting their dynamical evolution, (4) adapting to external driving of different waveform, and (5) extrapolating the global bifurcation behaviors to network systems of different sizes. These features make our digital twins appealing in applications, such as monitoring the health of critical systems and forecasting their potential collapse induced by environmental changes or perturbations. Such systems can be an infrastructure, an ecosystem, or a regional climate system.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number033111
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 2023

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Statistical and Nonlinear Physics
  • Mathematical Physics
  • General Physics and Astronomy
  • Applied Mathematics


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