PhD defense – Florian Faucher

Florian Faucher defended his PhD thesis entitled:

Contributions to Seismic Full Waveform Inversion for Time Harmonic Wave Equations: Stability Estimates, Convergence Analysis, Numerical Experiments involving Large Scale Optimization Algorithms

In this project, we investigate the recovery of subsurface Earth parameters. We consider the seismic imaging as a large scale iterative minimization problem, and deploy the Full Waveform Inversion (FWI) method, for which several aspects must be treated. The reconstruction is based on the wave equations because the characteristics of the measurements indicate the nature of the medium in which the waves propagate. First, the natural heterogeneity and anisotropy of the Earth require numerical methods that are adapted and efficient to solve the wave propagation problem. In this study, we have decided to work with the harmonic formulation, i.e., in the frequency domain. Therefore, we detail the mathematical equations involved and the numerical discretization used to solve the wave equations in large scale situations.

The inverse problem is then established in order to frame the seismic imaging. It is a nonlinear and ill-posed inverse problem by nature, due to the limited available data, and the complexity of the subsurface characterization. However, we obtain a conditional Lipschitz-type stability in the case of piecewise constant model representation. We derive the lower and upper bound for the underlying stability constant, which allows us to quantify the stability with frequency and scale. It is of great use for the underlying optimization algorithm involved to solve the seismic problem. We review the foundations of iterative optimization techniques and provide the different methods that we have used in this project. The Newton method, due to the numerical cost of inverting the Hessian, may not always be accessible. We propose some comparisons to identify the benefits of using the Hessian, in order to study what would be an appropriate procedure regarding the accuracy and time. We study the convergence of the iterative minimization method, depending on different aspects such as the geometry of the subsurface, the frequency, and the parametrization. In particular, we quantify the frequency progression, from the point of view of optimization, by showing how the size of the basin of attraction evolves with frequency.

Following the convergence and stability analysis of the problem, the iterative minimization algorithm is conducted via a multi-level scheme where frequency and scale progress simultaneously. We perform a collection of experiments, including acoustic and elastic media, in two and three dimensions. The perspectives of attenuation and anisotropic reconstructions are also introduced. Finally, we study the case of Cauchy data, motivated by the dual sensors devices that are developed in the geophysical industry. We derive a novel cost function, which arises from the stability analysis of the problem. It allows elegant perspectives where no prior information on the acquisition set is required.

Pau, November 29, 2017