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Randolph E. Bank
Philip E. Gill
Michael Holst

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Terry Le

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Local Convergence of Adaptive Methods for Nonlinear Partial Differential Equations.

by M. Holst, G. Tsogtgerel, Y. Zhu


In this article we develop convergence theory for a general class of adaptive approximation algorithms for abstract nonlinear operator equations on Banach spaces, and use the theory to obtain convergence results for practical adaptive finite element methods (AFEM) applied to several classes of nonlinear elliptic equations. In the first part of the paper, we develop a weak-* convergence framework for nonlinear operators, whose Gateaux derivatives are locally Lipschitz and satisfy a local inf-sup condition. The framework can be viewed as extending the recent convergence results for linear problems of Morin, Siebert and Veeser to a general nonlinear setting. We formulate an abstract adaptive approximation algorithm for nonlinear operator equations in Banach spaces with local structure. The weak-* convergence framework is then applied to this class of abstract locally adaptive algorithms, giving a general convergence result. The convergence result is then applied to a standard AFEM algorithm in the case of several semilinear and quasi-linear scalar elliptic equations and elliptic systems, including: a semilinear problem with subcritical nonlinearity, the steady Navier-Stokes equations, and a quasilinear problem with nonlinear diffusion. This yields several new AFEM convergence results for these nonlinear problems. In the second part of the paper we develop a second abstract convergence framework based on strong contraction, extending the recent contraction results for linear problems of Cascon, Kreuzer, Nochetto, and Siebert and of Mekchay and Nochetto to abstract nonlinear problems. The contraction result is then applied to a standard AFEM algorithm for semilinear problems with sub- and super-critical nonlinearities and for the Hamiltonian constraint in general relativity.

UCSD-CCoM-09-04.pdf   December 2009