Alice Lieu’s first paper has been accepted for publication in the Journal Of Computational Physics, congrats Alice! This paper allows a comparison between two highly efficient methods for solving acoustics problem formulated in the frequency domain.
A comparison of high-order polynomial and wave-based methods for Helmholtz problems
The application of computational modelling to wave propagation problems is hindered by the dispersion error introduced by the discretisation. Two common strategies to address this issue are to use high-order polynomial shape functions (e.g. hp-FEM), or to use physics-based, or Trefftz, methods where the shape functions are local solutions of the problem (typically plane waves). Both strategies have been actively developed over the past decades and both have demonstrated their benefits compared to conventional finite-element methods, but they have yet to be compared. In this paper a high-order polynomial method (p-FEM with Lobatto polynomials) and the wave-based discontinuous Galerkin method are compared for two-dimensional Helmholtz problems. A number of different benchmark problems are used to perform a detailed and systematic assessment of the relative merits of these two methods in terms of interpolation properties, performance and conditioning. It is generally assumed that a wave-based method naturally provides better accuracy compared to polynomial methods since the plane waves or Bessel functions used in these methods are exact solutions of the Helmholtz equation. Results indicate that this expectation does not necessarily translate into a clear benefit, and that the differences in performance, accuracy and conditioning are more nuanced than generally assumed. The high-order polynomial method can in fact deliver comparable, and in some cases superior, performance compared to the wave-based DGM. In addition to benchmarking the intrinsic computational performance of these methods, a number of practical issues associated with realistic applications are also discussed.