Assessing the performances and transferability of graph neural network metamodels for water distribution systems

JOURNAL OF HYDROINFORMATICS(2023)

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Abstract
Metamodels accurately reproduce the output of physics-based hydraulic models with a significant reduction in simulation times. They are widely employed in water distribution system (WDS) analysis since they enable computationally expensive applications in the design, control, and optimisation of water networks. Recent machine-learning-based metamodels grant improved fidelity and speed; however, they are only applicable to the water network they were trained on. To address this issue, we investigate graph neural networks (GNNs) as metamodels for WDSs. GNNs leverage the networked structure of WDS by learning shared coefficients and thus offering the potential of transferability. This work evaluates the suitability of GNNs as metamodels for estimating nodal pressures in steady-state EPANET simulations. We first compare the effectiveness of GNN metamodels against multi-layer perceptrons (MLPs) on several benchmark WDSs. Then, we explore the transferability of GNNs by training them concurrently on multiple WDSs. For each configuration, we calculate model accuracy and speedups with respect to the original numerical model. GNNs perform similarly to MLPs in terms of accuracy but take longer to execute but may still provide substantial speedup. Our preliminary results indicate that GNNs can learn shared representations across different networks, although assessing the feasibility of truly general metamodels requires further work.
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Key words
artificial intelligence, graph neural network, surrogate model, transfer learning, water distribution system, water network
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