On accuracy conditions for the numerical computation of waves

A. Bayliss*, C. I. Goldstein, E. Turkel

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

170 Scopus citations


The Helmholtz equation (Δ+K2n2)u=f with a variable index of refraction n and a suitable radiation condition at infinity serves as a model for a wide variety of wave propagation problems. Such problems can be solved numerically by first truncating the given unbounded domain, imposing a suitable outgoing radiation condition on an artificial boundary and then solving the resulting problem on the bounded domain by direct discretization (for example, using a finite element method). In practical applications, the mesh size h and the wave number K are not independent but are constrained by the accuracy of the desired computation. It will be shown that the number of points per wavelength, measured by (Kh)-1, is not sufficient to determine the accuracy of a given discretization. For example, the quantity K3h2 is shown to determine the accuracy in the L2 norm for a second-order discretization method applied to several propagation models.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)396-404
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Computational Physics
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jul 1985

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Numerical Analysis
  • Modeling and Simulation
  • Physics and Astronomy (miscellaneous)
  • Physics and Astronomy(all)
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Computational Mathematics
  • Applied Mathematics


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