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Mathematics of Computation

Published by the American Mathematical Society since 1960 (published as Mathematical Tables and other Aids to Computation 1943-1959), Mathematics of Computation is devoted to research articles of the highest quality in computational mathematics.

ISSN 1088-6842 (online) ISSN 0025-5718 (print)

The 2020 MCQ for Mathematics of Computation is 1.78.

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Instability analysis of saddle points by a local minimax method
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by Jianxin Zhou PDF
Math. Comp. 74 (2005), 1391-1411 Request permission


The objective of this work is to develop some tools for local instability analysis of multiple critical points, which can be computationally carried out. The Morse index can be used to measure local instability of a nondegenerate saddle point. However, it is very expensive to compute numerically and is ineffective for degenerate critical points. A local (weak) linking index can also be defined to measure local instability of a (degenerate) saddle point. But it is still too difficult to compute. In this paper, a local instability index, called a local minimax index, is defined by using a local minimax method. This new instability index is known beforehand and can help in finding a saddle point numerically. Relations between the local minimax index and other local instability indices are established. Those relations also provide ways to numerically compute the Morse, local linking indices. In particular, the local minimax index can be used to define a local instability index of a saddle point relative to a reference (trivial) critical point even in a Banach space while others failed to do so.
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Additional Information
  • Jianxin Zhou
  • Affiliation: Department of Mathematics, Texas A&M University, College Station, Texas 77843
  • Email:
  • Received by editor(s): May 4, 2003
  • Received by editor(s) in revised form: December 11, 2003
  • Published electronically: July 20, 2004
  • © Copyright 2004 American Mathematical Society
  • Journal: Math. Comp. 74 (2005), 1391-1411
  • MSC (2000): Primary 58E05, 58E30; Secondary 35A40, 35A15
  • DOI:
  • MathSciNet review: 2137008