A backward problem for the time-fractional diffusion equation. (English) Zbl 1204.35177

Summary: We consider a backward problem in time for a time-fractional partial differential equation in one-dimensional case, which describes the diffusion process in porous media related with the continuous time random walk problem. Such a backward problem is of practically great importance because we often do not know the initial density of substance, but we can observe the density at a positive moment. The backward problem is ill-posed and we propose a regularizing scheme by the quasi-reversibility with fully theoretical analysis and test its numerical performance. With the help of the memory effect of the fractional derivative, it is found that the property of the initial status of the medium can be recovered in an efficient way. Since our solution is established on the eigenfunction expansion of elliptic operator, the method proposed in this article can be used to higher dimensional case with variable coefficients.


35R30 Inverse problems for PDEs
35R11 Fractional partial differential equations
35R25 Ill-posed problems for PDEs
65M30 Numerical methods for ill-posed problems for initial value and initial-boundary value problems involving PDEs
76S05 Flows in porous media; filtration; seepage
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