- Print ISBN 9780444506160
- Electronic ISBN 9780080929569
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. Refe