Uppsala University Department of Information Technology

Technical Report 2012-018

Stable Calculation of Gaussian-based RBF-FD Stencils

Bengt Fornberg, Erik Lehto, and Collin Powell

August 2012

Traditional finite difference (FD) methods are designed to be exact for low degree polynomials. They can be highly effective on Cartesian-type grids, but may fail for unstructured node layouts. Radial basis function-generated finite difference (RBF-FD) methods overcome this problem and, as a result, provide a much improved geometric flexibility. The calculation of RBF-FD weights involves a shape parameter varepsilon. Small values of varepsilon (corresponding to near-flat RBFs) often lead to particularly accurate RBF-FD formulas. However, the most straightforward way to calculate the weights (RBF-Direct) then becomes numerically highly ill-conditioned. In contrast, the present algorithm remains numerically stable all the way into the varepsilonarrow0 limit. Like the RBF-QR algorithm, it uses the idea of finding a numerically well-conditioned basis function set in the same function space as is spanned by the ill-conditioned near-flat original Gaussian RBFs. By exploiting some properties of the incomplete gamma function, it transpires that the change of basis can be achieved without dealing with any infinite expansions. Its strengths and weaknesses compared the Contour-Padé, RBF-RA, and RBF-QR algorithms are discussed.

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