, Volume 12, Issue 5, pp 671-718
Date: 29 Jun 2012

Convergence Rates of AFEM with H −1 Data

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This paper studies adaptive finite element methods (AFEMs), based on piecewise linear elements and newest vertex bisection, for solving second order elliptic equations with piecewise constant coefficients on a polygonal domain Ω⊂ℝ2. The main contribution is to build algorithms that hold for a general right-hand side fH −1(Ω). Prior work assumes almost exclusively that fL 2(Ω). New data indicators based on local H −1 norms are introduced, and then the AFEMs are based on a standard bulk chasing strategy (or Dörfler marking) combined with a procedure that adapts the mesh to reduce these new indicators. An analysis of our AFEM is given which establishes a contraction property and optimal convergence rates N s with 0<s≤1/2. In contrast to previous work, it is shown that it is not necessary to assume a compatible decay s<1/2 of the data estimator, but rather that this is automatically guaranteed by the approximability assumptions on the solution by adaptive meshes, without further assumptions on f; the borderline case s=1/2 yields an additional factor logN. Computable surrogates for the data indicators are introduced and shown to also yield optimal convergence rates N s with s≤1/2.