Local derivative post-processing for the discontinuous Galerkin method

Jennifer K. Ryan, Bernardo Cockburn

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

28 Scopus citations


Obtaining accurate approximations for derivatives is important for many scientific applications in such areas as fluid mechanics and chemistry as well as in visualization applications. In this paper we discuss techniques for computing accurate approximations of high-order derivatives for discontinuous Galerkin solutions to hyperbolic equations related to these areas. In previous work, improvement in the accuracy of the numerical solution using discontinuous Galerkin methods was obtained through post-processing by convolution with a suitably defined kernel. This post-processing technique was able to improve the order of accuracy of the approximation to the solution of time-dependent symmetric linear hyperbolic partial differential equations from order k + 1 to order 2 k + 1 over a uniform mesh; this was extended to include one-sided post-processing as well as post-processing over non-uniform meshes. In this paper, we address the issue of improving the accuracy of approximations to derivatives of the solution by using the method introduced by Thomée [19]. It consists in simply taking the αth-derivative of the convolution of the solution with a sufficiently smooth kernel. The order of convergence of the approximation is then independent of the order of the derivative, | α |. We also discuss an efficient way of computing the approximation which does not involve differentiation but the application of simple finite differencing. Our results show that the above-mentioned approximations to the αth-derivative of the exact solution of linear, multidimensional symmetric hyperbolic systems obtained by the discontinuous Galerkin method with polynomials of degree k converge with order 2 k + 1 regardless of the order | α | of the derivative.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)8642-8664
Number of pages23
JournalJournal of Computational Physics
Issue number23
StatePublished - Dec 10 2009

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The authors would like to thank the reviewers for their useful suggestions. Portions of this work were performed while the first author was in Department of Mathematics, Virginia Tech, Blacksburg, VA, USA. The second author would like to acknowledge the partial support of the National Science Foundation through Grant DMS-0712955.


  • Accuracy enhancement
  • Discontinuous Galerkin method
  • Hyperbolic equations
  • Post-processing


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