A pedagogical review on a posteriori error estimation in Finite Element computations

10/05/2021 ∙ by Ludovic Chamoin, et al. ∙ 0

This article is a review on basic concepts and tools devoted to a posteriori error estimation for problems solved with the Finite Element Method. For the sake of simplicity and clarity, we mostly focus on linear elliptic diffusion problems, approximated by a conforming numerical discretization. The review mainly aims at presenting in a unified manner a large set of powerful verification methods, around the concept of equilibrium. Methods based on that concept provide error bounds that are fully computable and mathematically certified. We discuss recovery methods, residual methods, and duality-based methods for the estimation of the whole solution error (i.e. the error in energy norm), as well as goal-oriented error estimation (to assess the error on specific quantities of interest). We briefly survey the possible extensions to non-conforming numerical methods, as well as more complex (e.g. nonlinear or time-dependent) problems. We also provide some illustrating numerical examples on a linear elasticity problem in 3D.

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