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Backward error analysis for variational discretisations of partial differential equations

by   Robert I McLachlan, et al.

In backward error analysis, an approximate solution to an equation is compared to the exact solution to a nearby "modified" equation. In numerical ordinary differential equations, the two agree up to any power of the step size. If the differential equation has a geometric property then the modified equation may share it. In this way, known properties of differential equations can be applied to the approximation. But for partial differential equations, the known modified equations are of higher order, limiting applicability of the theory. Therefore, we study symmetric solutions of discretized partial differential equations that arise from a discrete variational principle. These symmetric solutions obey infinite-dimensional functional equations. We show that these equations admit second-order modified equations which are Hamiltonian and also possess first-order Lagrangians in modified coordinates. The modified equation and its associated structures are computed explicitly for the case of rotating travelling waves in the nonlinear wave equation.


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