The main part of this work establishes existence, uniqueness and regularity properties of measure-valued solutions of a nonlinear hyperbolic conservation law with non-local velocities. Major challenges stem from in- and out-fluxes containing nonzero pure-point parts which cause discontinuities of the velocities. This part is preceded, and motivated, by an extended study which proves that an associated optimal control problem has no optimal $L^1$-solutions that are supported on short time intervals.
The hyperbolic conservation law considered here is a well-established model for a highly re-entrant semiconductor manufacturing system. Prior work established well-posedness for $L^1$-controls and states, and existence of optimal solutions for $L^2$-controls, states, and control objectives. The results on measure-valued solutions presented here reduce to the existing literature in the case of initial state and in-flux being absolutely continuous measures. The surprising well-posedness (in the face of measures containing nonzero pure-point part and discontinuous velocities) is directly related to characteristic features of the model that capture the highly re-entrant nature of the semiconductor manufacturing system.
More specifically, the optimal control problem is to minimize an $L^1$-functional that measures the mismatch between actual and desired accumulated out-flux. The focus is on the transition between equilibria with eventually zero backlog. In the case of a step up to a larger equilibrium, the in-flux not only needs to increase to match the higher desired out-flux, but also needs to increase the mass in the factory and to make up for the backlog caused by an inverse response of the system. The optimality results obtained confirm the heuristic inference that the optimal solution should be an impulsive in-flux, but this is no longer in the space of $L^1$-controls.
The need for impulsive controls motivates the change of the setting from $L^1$-controls and states to controls and states that are Borel measures. The key strategy is to temporarily abandon the Eulerian point of view and first construct Lagrangian solutions. The final section proposes a notion of weak measure-valued solutions and proves existence and uniqueness of such.
In the case of the in-flux containing nonzero pure-point part, the weak solution cannot depend continuously on the time with respect to any norm. However, using semi-norms that are related to the flat norm, a weaker form of continuity of solutions with respect to time is proven. It is conjectured that also a similar weak continuous dependence on initial data holds with respect to a variant of the flat norm.