Testing numerical evolution with the shifted gauge wave
Computational methods are essential to provide waveforms from coalescing black holes, which are expected to produce strong signals for the gravitational wave observatories being developed. Although partial simulations of the coalescence have been reported, scientifically useful waveforms have so far not been delivered. The goal of the AppleswithApples (AwA) Alliance is to design, coordinate and document standardized code tests for comparing numerical relativity codes. The first round of AwA tests has now been completed and the results are being analyzed. These initial tests are based upon the periodic boundary conditions designed to isolate performance of the main evolution code. Here we describe and carry out an additional test with periodic boundary conditions which deals with an essential feature of the black hole excision problem, namely a non-vanishing shift. The test is a shifted version of the existing AwA gauge wave test. We show how a shift introduces an exponentially growing instability which violates the constraints of a standard harmonic formulation of Einstein's equations. We analyze the Cauchy problem in a harmonic gauge and discuss particular options for suppressing instabilities in the gauge wave tests. We implement these techniques in a finite difference evolution algorithm and present test results. Although our application here is limited to a model problem, the techniques should benefit the simulation of black holes using harmonic evolution codes.
Babiuc, M. C., Szilágyi, B., & Winicour, J. (2006). Testing numerical evolution with the shifted gauge wave. Classical and Quantum Gravity, 23(16), S319.