Characteristic Evolution and Matching

Jeffrey Winicour
Max Planck Institute for Gravitational Physics
(Albert Einstein Institute)
Am Mühlenberg 1
14476 Potsdam-Golm, Germany
Department of Physics and Astronomy
University of Pittsburgh
Pittsburgh, PA 15260, U.S.A.

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Major update of lrr-2005-10 (see article history and change log for details.)


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. Cauchy codes have now been successful at simulating all aspects of the binary black hole problem inside an artificially constructed outer boundary. A prime application of characteristic evolution is to eliminate the role of this artificial outer boundary via Cauchy-characteristic matching, by which the radiated waveform can be computed at null infinity. Progress in this direction is discussed.

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