In one of the papers in this collection, the remark that "nothing at all takes place in the universe in which some rule of maximum of minimum does not appear" is attributed to no less an authority than Euler. Simplifying the syntax a little, we might paraphrase this as Everything is an optimization problem. While this might be something of an overstatement, the element of exaggeration is certainly reduced if we consider the extended form: Everything is an optimization problem or a system of equations. This observation, even if only partly true, stands as a fitting testimonial to the importance of the work covered by this volume.
Since the 1960s, much effort has gone into the development and application of numerical algorithms for solving problems in the two areas of optimization and systems of equations. As a result, many different ideas have been proposed for dealing efficiently with (for example) severe nonlinearities and/or very large numbers of variables. Libraries of powerful software now embody the most successful of these ideas, and one objective of this volume is to assist potential users in choosing appropriate software for the problems they need to solve. More generally, however, these collected review articles are intended to provide both researchers and practitioners with snapshots of the 'state-of-the-art' with regard to algorithms for particular classes of problem. These snapshots are meant to have the virtues of immediacy through the inclusion of very recent ideas, but they also have sufficient depth of field to show how ideas have developed and how today's research questions have grown out of previous solution attempts.
The most efficient methods for local optimization, both unconstrained and constrained, are still derived from the classical Newton approach.
As well as dealing in depth with the various classical, or neo-classical, approaches, the selection of papers on optimization in this volume ensures that newer ideas are also well represented.
Solving nonlinear algebraic systems of equations is closely related to optimization. The two are not completely equivalent, however, and usually something is lost in the translation.
Algorithms for nonlinear equations can be roughly classified as locally convergent or globally convergent. The characterization is not perfect.
Locally convergent algorithms include Newton's method, modern quasi-Newton variants of Newton's method, and trust region methods. All of these approaches are well represented in this volume.
This volume contains contributions in the area of differential equations and integral equations. Many numerical methods have arisen in response to the need to solve "real-life" problems in applied mathematics, in particular problems that do not have a closed-form solution. Contributions on both initial-value problems and boundary-value problems in ordinary differential equations appear in this volume. Numerical methods for initial-value problems in ordinary differential equations fall naturally into two classes: those which use one starting value at each step (one-step methods) and those which are based on several values of the solution (multistep methods).
John Butcher has supplied an expert's perspective of the development of numerical methods for ordinary differential equations in the 20th century.
Rob Corless and Lawrence Shampine talk about established technology, namely software for initial-value problems using Runge-Kutta and Rosenbrock methods, with interpolants to fill in the solution between mesh-points, but the 'slant' is new - based on the question, "How should such software integrate into the current generation of Problem Solving Environments?"
Natalia Borovykh and Marc Spijker study the problem of establishing upper bounds for the norm of the nth power of square matrices.
The dynamical system viewpoint has been of great benefit to ODE theory and numerical methods. Related is the study of chaotic behaviour.
Willy Govaerts discusses the numerical methods for the computation and continuation of equilibria and bifurcation points of equilibria of dynamical systems.
Arieh Iserles and Antonella Zanna survey the construction of Runge-Kutta methods which preserve algebraic invariant functions.
Valeria Antohe and Ian Gladwell present numerical experiments on solving a Hamiltonian system of Hénon and Heiles with a symplectic and a nonsymplectic method with a variety of precisions and initial conditions.
Stiff differential equations first became recognized as special during the 1950s. In 1963 two seminal publications laid to the foundations for later development: Dahlquist's paper on A-stable multistep methods and Butcher's first paper on implicit Runge-Kutta methods.
Ernst Hairer and Gerhard Wanner deliver a survey which retraces the discovery of the order stars as well as the principal achievements obtained by that theory.
Guido Vanden Berghe, Hans De Meyer, Marnix Van Daele and Tanja Van Hecke construct exponentially fitted Runge-Kutta methods with s stages.
Differential-algebraic equations arise in control, in modelling of mechanical systems and in many other fields.
Jeff Cash describes a fairly recent class of formulae for the numerical solution of initial-value problems for stiff and differential-algebraic systems.
Shengtai Li and Linda Petzold describe methods and software for sensitivity analysis of solutions of DAE initial-value problems.
Again in the area of differential-algebraic systems, Neil Biehn, John Betts, Stephen Campbell and William Huffman present current work on mesh adaptation for DAE two-point boundary-value problems.
Contrasting approaches to the question of how good an approximation is as a solution of a given equation involve (i) attempting to estimate the actual error (i.e., the difference between the true and the approximate solutions) and (ii) attempting to estimate the defect
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Over the second half of the 20th century the subject area loosely referred to as numerical analysis of partial differential equations (PDEs) has undergone unprecedented development. At its practical end, the vigorous growth and steady diversification of the field were stimulated by the demand for accurate and reliable tools for computational modelling in physical sciences and engineering, and by the rapid development of computer hardware and architecture. At the more theoretical end, the analytical insight into the underlying stability and accuracy properties of computational algorithms for PDEs was deepened by building upon recent progress in mathematical analysis and in the theory of PDEs.
To embark on a comprehensive review of the field of numerical analysis of partial differential equations within a single volume of this journal would have been an impossible task. Indeed, the 16 contributions included here, by some of the foremost world authorities in the subject, represent only a small sample of the major developments. We hope that these articles will, nevertheless, provide the reader with a stimulating glimpse into this diverse, exciting and important field.
The opening paper by Thomée reviews the history of numerical analysis of PDEs, starting with the 1928 paper by Courant, Friedrichs and Lewy on the solution of problems of mathematical physics by means of finite differences. This excellent survey takes the reader through the development of finite differences for elliptic problems from the 1930s, and the intense study of finite differences for general initial value problems during the 1950s and 1960s. The formulation of the concept of stability is explored in the Lax equivalence theorem and the Kreiss matrix lemmas. Reference is made to the introduction of the finite element method by structural engineers, and a description is given of the subsequent development and mathematical analysis of the finite element method with piecewise polynomial approximating functions. The penultimate section of Thomée's survey deals with `other classes of approximation methods', and this covers methods such as collocation methods, spectral methods, finite volume methods and boundary integral methods. The final section is devoted to numerical linear algebra for elliptic problems.
The next three papers, by Bialecki and Fairweather, Hesthaven and Gottlieb and Dahmen, describe, respectively, spline collocation methods, spectral methods and wavelet methods. The work by Bialecki and Fairweather is a comprehensive overview of orthogonal spline collocation from its first appearance to the latest mathematical developments and applications. The emphasis throughout is on problems in two space dimensions. The paper by Hesthaven and Gottlieb presents a review of Fourier and Chebyshev pseudospectral methods for the solution of hyperbolic PDEs. Particular emphasis is placed on the treatment of boundaries, stability of time discretisations, treatment of non-smooth solutions and multidomain techniques. The paper gives a clear view of the advances that have been made over the last decade in solving hyperbolic problems by means of spectral methods, but it shows that many critical issues remain open. The paper by Dahmen reviews the recent rapid growth in the use of wavelet methods for PDEs. The author focuses on the use of adaptivity, where significant successes have recently been achieved. He describes the potential weaknesses of wavelet methods as well as the perceived strengths, thus giving a balanced view that should encourage the study of wavelet methods.
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