Update available: http://www.livingreviews.org/lrr-2009-3
Max-Planck-Institut für Gravitationsphysik
Am Mühlenberg 1
14476 Golm, Germany
Department of Physics and Astronomy
University of Pittsburgh
Pittsburgh, PA 15260, U.S.A.
I review the development of numerical evolution codes for general relativity based upon the characteristic initial value problem. Progress is traced from the early stage of 1D feasibility studies to 2D axisymmetric codes that accurately simulate the oscillations and gravitational collapse of relativistic stars and to current 3D codes that provide pieces of a binary black hole spacetime. A prime application of characteristic evolution is to compute waveforms via Cauchy-characteristic matching, which is also reviewed.
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