On the Numerical Solution to a Nonlinear Wave Equation Associated with the First Painlevé Equation: An Operator-Splitting Approach



The main goal of this article is to discuss the numerical solution to a nonlinear wave equation associated with the first of the celebrated Painlevé transcendent ordinary differential equations. In order to solve numerically the above equation, whose solutions blow up in finite time, the authors advocate a numerical methodology based on the Strang’s symmetrized operator-splitting scheme. With this approach, one can decouple nonlinearity and differential operators, leading to the alternate solution at every time step of the equation as follows: (i) The first Painlevé ordinary differential equation, (ii) a linear wave equation with a constant coefficient. Assuming that the space dimension is two, the authors consider a fully discrete variant of the above scheme, where the space-time discretization of the linear wave equation sub-steps is achieved via a Galerkin/finite element space approximation combined with a second order accurate centered time discretization scheme. To handle the nonlinear sub-steps, a second order accurate centered explicit time discretization scheme with adaptively variable time step is used, in order to follow accurately the fast dynamic of the solution before it blows up. The results of numerical experiments are presented for different coefficients and boundary conditions. They show that the above methodology is robust and describes fairly accurately the evolution of a rather “violent” phenomenon.


Painlevé equation Nonlinear wave equation Blow-up solution Operator-splitting 

Mathematics Subject Classification

35L70 65N06 



The authors would like to thank the founders of the Painlevé Project. Their one page article in the Notices of the AMS [1] was the motivation of the work reported in this article. The authors thank Dr. Simone Paulotto for his help on the spectral analysis of some results.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of MathematicsUniversity of HoustonHoustonUSA
  2. 2.Laboratoire Jacques-Louis LionsUniversity Pierre et Marie CurieParis Cedex 05France

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