HSL Thesis Defense: Björn Lütjens (1p, 5/3, Rm 33-116)

Björn Lütjens will be defending his doctoral thesis on Wednesday, May 3 at 1:00 PM ET. The defense will be on hybrid in Room 33-116 and on Zoom (details below). Faculty may view Björn’s thesis on the Wiki page. The thesis abstract is below.

Title: “Deep Learning Emulators for Accessible Climate Projections”

Abstract: Climate change has shifted from a purely scientific topic to a deeply politicized issue. To combat climate change we need to create mutual understanding on the links between policies, global warming, and city-scale impacts. Climate models have been inconceivably helpful in generating this causal understanding, but running them requires supercomputers and is only accessible to a select number of researchers.

This thesis explores how emulating climate models with deep learning can make them more accessible and, at the same time, pose novel challenges in deep learning on physical, long-term time-series, and high-dimensional data. I show that deep learning can decrease runtime in dynamical models, increase accuracy in local climate projections, and generate visualizations of climate impacts. Specifically, I create a hybrid model, called multiscale neural operator, that reduces the runtime complexity of solving selected equations in multiscale dynamics from quadratic to quasilinear by learning a hard-to-model parametrization term. I also created satellite imagery of the future that visualizes climate data using physically-consistent deep generative vision models.

By combining my thesis contributions I envision an online tool that rapidly emulates the city-scale impacts of various climate policies. Such an emulator would accelerate local climate risk analyses, attribution of extreme events, and finding common ground in climate decisions. 


Thesis Defense Committee

  • Prof. Dava Newman, Apollo Professor of Astronautics and Director, MIT Media Lab (Chair)
  • Dr. Catherine H. Crawford, IBM Fellow, IBM Research
  • Prof. Youssef Marzouk, Professor of Aeronautics and Astronautics, MIT
  • Dr. Mark Veillette, Senior Technical Staff, MIT Lincoln Laboratory (Reader)
  • Dr. Christopher N. Hill, Principal Research Engineer, Department of Earth, Atmospheric and Planetary Sciences, MIT (Reader)


Location: 33-116

Zoom Details: