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Mathematics of Computation

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The discrete Plateau Problem:
Algorithm and numerics

Authors: Gerhard Dziuk and John E. Hutchinson
Journal: Math. Comp. 68 (1999), 1-23
MSC (1991): Primary 65N30; Secondary 49Q05, 53A10
MathSciNet review: 1613695
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Abstract: We solve the problem of finding and justifying an optimal fully discrete finite element procedure for approximating minimal, including unstable, surfaces. In this paper we introduce the general framework and some preliminary estimates, develop the algorithm, and give the numerical results. In a subsequent paper we prove the convergence estimate. The algorithmic procedure is to find stationary points for the Dirichlet energy within the class of discrete harmonic maps from the discrete unit disc such that the boundary nodes are constrained to lie on a prescribed boundary curve. An integral normalisation condition is imposed, corresponding to the usual three point condition. Optimal convergence results are demonstrated numerically and theoretically for nondegenerate minimal surfaces, and the necessity for nondegeneracy is shown numerically.

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Additional Information

Gerhard Dziuk
Affiliation: Institut für Angewandte Mathematik, Universität Freiburg, Hermann–Herder–Str. 10, D-79104 Freiburg i. Br., GERMANY

John E. Hutchinson
Affiliation: Department of Mathematics, School of Mathematical Sciences, Australian National University, GPO Box 4, Canberra, ACT 0200, AUSTRALIA

Keywords: minimal surface, finite elements, order of convergence, Plateau Problem
Received by editor(s): August 26, 1996
Article copyright: © Copyright 1999 American Mathematical Society