Selected Applications of the Theory of Connections: A Technique for Analytical Constraint Embedding

Mathematics (Basel). 2019 Jun;7(6):537. doi: 10.3390/math7060537. Epub 2019 Jun 12.


In this paper, we consider several new applications of the recently introduced mathematical framework of the Theory of Connections (ToC). This framework transforms constrained problems into unconstrained problems by introducing constraint-free variables. Using this transformation, various ordinary differential equations (ODEs), partial differential equations (PDEs) and variational problems can be formulated where the constraints are always satisfied. The resulting equations can then be easily solved by introducing a global basis function set (e.g., Chebyshev, Legendre, etc.) and minimizing a residual at pre-defined collocation points. In this paper, we highlight the utility of ToC by introducing various problems that can be solved using this framework including: (1) analytical linear constraint optimization; (2) the brachistochrone problem; (3) over-constrained differential equations; (4) inequality constraints; and (5) triangular domains.

Keywords: Theory of Connections; calculus of variation; inequality constraints; linear constraint optimization; over-constrained differential equations; triangular domains.