General techniques for constructing variational integrators
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- Leok, M. & Shingel, T. Front. Math. China (2012) 7: 273. doi:10.1007/s11464-012-0190-9
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The numerical analysis of variational integrators relies on variational error analysis, which relates the order of accuracy of a variational integrator with the order of approximation of the exact discrete Lagrangian by a computable discrete Lagrangian. The exact discrete Lagrangian can either be characterized variationally, or in terms of Jacobi’s solution of the Hamilton-Jacobi equation. These two characterizations lead to the Galerkin and shooting constructions for discrete Lagrangians, which depend on a choice of a numerical quadrature formula, together with either a finite-dimensional function space or a one-step method. We prove that the properties of the quadrature formula, finite-dimensional function space, and underlying one-step method determine the order of accuracy and momentum-conservation properties of the associated variational integrators. We also illustrate these systematic methods for constructing variational integrators with numerical examples.