We present a new efficient computational approach for time-dependent first-order Hamilton-Jacobi-Bellman PDEs. Since our method is based on a time-implicit Eulerian discretization, the numerical scheme is unconditionally stable, but discretized equations for each time-slice are coupled and non-linear. We show that the same system can be re-interpreted as a discretization of a static Hamilton-Jacobi-Bellman PDE on the same physical domain. The latter was shown to be "causal" in [Vladimirsky 2006], making fast (non-iterative) methods applicable. The implicit discretization results in higher computational cost per time slice compared to the explicit time marching. However, the latter is subject to a CFL-stability condition, and the implicit approach becomes significantly more efficient whenever the accuracy demands on the time-step are less restrictive than the stability. We also present a hybrid method, which aims to combine the advantages of both the explicit and implicit discretizations. We demonstrate the efficiency of our approach using several examples in optimal control of isotropic fixed-horizon processes.

Paper [submitted]

Source Code

We release the implementation code of our algorithm under GNU GPL license. You can download them from the following links. Please refer to the readme.pdf in the source code tar ball about compiling the code and setting up tested PDE examples.


  • The National Science Foundation (DMS-1016150)
  • Columbia Young Faculty Startup Fund