Automatic Differentiation of C++ Codes for Large-Scale Scientific Computing

  • Roscoe A. Bartlett
  • David M. Gay
  • Eric T. Phipps
Part of the Lecture Notes in Computer Science book series (LNCS, volume 3994)


We discuss computing first derivatives for models based on elements, such as large-scale finite-element PDE discretizations, implemented in the C++ programming language. We use a hybrid technique of automatic differentiation (AD) and manual assembly, with local element-level derivatives computed via AD and manually summed into the global derivative. C++ templating and operator overloading work well for both forward- and reverse-mode derivative computations. We found that AD derivative computations compared favorably in time to finite differencing for a scalable finite-element discretization of a convection-diffusion problem in two dimensions.


Application Code Residual Evaluation Derivative Computation Implicit Time Integration Manual Assembly 


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  • Roscoe A. Bartlett
    • 1
  • David M. Gay
    • 1
  • Eric T. Phipps
    • 1
  1. 1.Sandia National LaboratoriesAlbuquerqueUSA

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