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Journal Article

A Fast Apparent-Horizon Finder for 3-Dimensional Cartesian Grids in Numerical Relativity


Thornburg,  Jonathan
Astrophysical Relativity, AEI-Golm, MPI for Gravitational Physics, Max Planck Society;

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Thornburg, J. (2004). A Fast Apparent-Horizon Finder for 3-Dimensional Cartesian Grids in Numerical Relativity. Classical and Quantum Gravity, 21(2), 743-766.

Cite as: https://hdl.handle.net/11858/00-001M-0000-0013-5087-2
In 3+1 numerical simulations of dynamic black hole spacetimes, it's useful to be able to find the apparent horizon(s) (AH) in each slice of a time evolution. A number of AH finders are available, but they often take many minutes to run, so they're too slow to be practically usable at each time step. Here I present a new AH finder,_AHFinderDirect_, which is very fast and accurate, typically taking only a few seconds to find an AH to $\sim 10^{-5} m$ accuracy on a GHz-class processor. I assume that an AH to be searched for is a Strahlk\"orper (star-shaped region) with respect to some local origin, and so parameterize the AH shape by $r = h(angle)$ for some single-valued function $h: S^2 \to \Re^+$. The AH equation then becomes a nonlinear elliptic PDE in $h$ on $S^2$, whose coefficients are algebraic functions of $g_{ij}$, $K_{ij}$, and the Cartesian-coordinate spatial derivatives of $g_{ij}$. I discretize $S^2$ using 6 angular patches (one each in the neighborhood of the $\pm x$, $\pm y$, and $\pm z$ axes) to avoid coordinate singularities, and finite difference the AH equation in the angular coordinates using 4th order finite differencing. I solve the resulting system of nonlinear algebraic equations (for $h$ at the angular grid points) by Newton's method, using a "symbolic differentiation" technique to compute the Jacobian matrix._AHFinderDirect_ is implemented as a thorn in the_Cactus_ computational toolkit, and will be made freely available starting in summer 2003