# Complexity Blowup for Solutions of the Laplace and the Diffusion Equation

In this paper, we investigate the computational complexity of solutions to the Laplace and the diffusion equation. We show that for a certain class of initial-boundary value problems of the Laplace and the diffusion equation, the solution operator is #P-complete in the sense that it maps polynomial-time computable functions to the set of #P-complete functions. Consequently, there exists polynomial-time (Turing) computable input data such that the solution is not polynomial-time computable, unless FP=#P. In this case, we can, in general, not simulate the solution of the Laplace or the diffusion equation on a digital computer without having a complexity blowup, i.e., the computation time for obtaining an approximation of the solution with up to a finite number of significant digits grows exponentially in the number of digits. This shows that the computational complexity of the solution operator that models a physical phenomena is intrinsically high, independent of the numerical algorithm that is used to approximate a solution. This indicates that there is a fundamental problem in simulating physical phenomena on digital hardware.

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