WIAS Preprint No. 2846, (2021)

Positivity preservation of implicit discretizations of the advection equation


  • Hadjimichael, Yiannis
    ORCID: 0000-0003-3517-8557
  • Ketcheson, David I.
  • Lóczi, Lajos

2020 Mathematics Subject Classification

  • 65M12 65L07 65M06 35P15 35B09


  • positivity preservation, implicit time-discretization, finite difference, spectral collocation, linear partial differential equations




We analyze, from the viewpoint of positivity preservation, certain discretizations of a fundamental partial differential equation, the one-dimensional advection equation with periodic boundary condition. The full discretization is obtained by coupling a finite difference spatial semidiscretization (the second- and some higher-order centered difference schemes, or the Fourier spectral collocation method) with an arbitrary θ-method in time (including the forward and backward Euler methods, and a second-order method by choosing  θ ∈ [0, 1] suitably). The full discretization generates a two-parameter family of circulant matrices M ∈ ℝ mxm , where each matrix entry is a rational function in θ and ν . Here, ν denotes the CFL number, being proportional to the ratio between the temporal and spatial discretization step sizes. The entrywise non-negativity of the matrix M---which is equivalent to the positivity preservation of the fully discrete scheme---is investigated via discrete Fourier analysis and also by solving some low-order parametric linear recursions. We find that positivity preservation of the fully discrete system is impossible if the number of spatial grid points m is even. However, it turns out that positivity preservation of the fully discrete system is recovered for odd values of m provided that θ ≥ 1/2 and ν are chosen suitably. These results are interesting since the systems of ordinary differential equations obtained via the spatial semi-discretizations studied are not positivity preserving.

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