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The optimal control of fluid flows described by the Navier-Stokes equations requires massive computational resources, which has led researchers to develop reduced-order models, such as those derived from proper orthogonal decomposition (POD), to reduce the computational complexity of the solution process. The object of the thesis is the acceleration of such reduced-order models through the combination of POD reduced-order methods with finite element methods at various discretization levels. Special stabilization methods required for high-order solution of flow problems with dominant convection on coarse meshes lead to numerical data that is incompatible with standard POD methods for reduced-order modeling. We successfully adapt the POD method for such problems by introducing the streamline diffusion POD method (SDPOD). Using the novel SDPOD method, we experiment with multilevel recursive optimization at Reynolds numbers of Re=400 and Re=10,000.

The discretization of optimal control problems governed by partial differential equations typically leads to large-scale optimization problems. We consider flow control involving the time-dependent Navier-Stokes equations as state equation which is stamped by exactly this property. In order to avoid the difficulties of dealing with large-scale (discretized) state equations during the optimization process, a reduction of the number of state variables can be achieved by employing a reduced order modelling technique. Using the snapshot proper orthogonal decomposition method, one obtains a low-dimensional model for the computation of an approximate solution to the state equation. In fact, often a small number of POD basis functions suffices to obtain a satisfactory level of accuracy in the reduced order solution. However, the small number of degrees of freedom in a POD based reduced order model also constitutes its main weakness for optimal control purposes. Since a single reduced order model is based on the solution of the Navier-Stokes equations for a specified control, it might be an inadequate model when the control (and consequently also the actual corresponding flow behaviour) is altered, implying that the range of validity of a reduced order model, in general, is limited. Thus, it is likely to meet unreliable reduced order solutions during a control problem solution based on one single reduced order model. In order to get out of this dilemma, we propose to use a trust-region proper orthogonal decomposition (TRPOD) approach. By embedding the POD based reduced order modelling technique into a trust-region framework with general model functions, we obtain a mechanism for updating the reduced order models during the optimization process, enabling the reduced order models to represent the flow dynamics as altered by the control. In fact, a rigorous convergence theory for the TRPOD method is obtained which justifies this procedure also from a theoretical point of view. Benefiting from the trust-region philosophy, the TRPOD method guarantees to save a lot of computational work during the control problem solution, since the original state equation only has to be solved if we intend to update our model function in the trust-region framework. The optimization process itself is completely based on reduced order information only.