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Error estimates for Neumann boundary control problems with energy regularization

Thomas Apel, Olaf Steinbach and Max Winkler


A Neumann boundary control problem for a second order elliptic state equation is considered. The problem is regularized by an energy term which is equivalent to the H1/2(Γ) -norm of the control. Both the unconstrained and the control constrained cases are investigated. The regularity of the state, control, and co-state variables is studied with particular focus on the singularities due to the corners of the two-dimensional domain.

The state and co-state are approximated by piecewise linear finite elements. For the approximation of the control variable we use carefully designed spaces of piecewise linear or piecewise constant functions, such that an inf-sup condition is satisfied. Error estimates for the approximate solution are proved for all three variables and we show a relation between convergence rate and the opening angles at corners of the domain. As the control grows in general unboundedly near the concave corners for unconstrained problems, it becomes active and hence regular when control constraints are present. We show that in this case the convergence rates are higher than in the unbounded case. Numerical tests suggest that the estimates derived are optimal in the unconstrained case but too pessimistic in the control constrained case.

MSC 2010: 49J20; 65N15; 65N30


We acknowledge the financial support of the German Research Foundation (DFG) within the International Research Training Group (IGDK) 1754. We further thank Johannes Pfefferer and Arnd Rösch for the fruitful discussions.


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Received: 2015-7-8
Accepted: 2016-3-17
Published Online: 2016-3-29
Published in Print: 2016-12-1

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