Section: Overall Objectives
The overall objectives of the NACHOS project-team are the design, mathematical analysis and actual leveraging of numerical methods for the solution of first order linear systems of partial differential equations (PDEs) with variable coefficients modeling wave propagation problems. The two main physical contexts considered by the team are electrodynamics and elastodynamics. The corresponding applications lead to the simulation of electromagnetic or seismic wave interaction with media exhibiting space and time heterogeneities. Moreover, in most of the situations of practical relevance, the propagation settings involve structures or/and material interfaces with complex shapes. Both the heterogeneity of the media and the complex geometrical features of the propagation domains motivate the use of numerical methods that can deal with non-uniform discretization meshes. In this context, the research efforts of the team concentrate on numerical methods formulated on unstructured or hybrid structured/unstructured meshes for the solution of the systems of PDEs of electrodynamics and elastodynamics. Our activities include the implementation of these numerical methods in advanced 3D simulation software that efficiently exploit the capabilities of modern high performance computing platforms. In this respect, our research efforts are also concerned with algorithmic issues related to the design of numerical algorithms that perfectly fit to the hardware characteristics of petascale class supercomputers.
In the case of electrodynamics, the mathematical model of interest is the full system of unsteady Maxwell equations  which is a first-order hyperbolic linear system of PDEs (if the underlying propagation media is assumed to be linear). This system can be numerically solved using so-called time-domain methods among which the Finite Difference Time-Domain (FDTD) method introduced by K.S. Yee  in 1996 is the most popular and which often serves as a reference method for the works of the team. For certain types of problems, a time-harmonic evolution can be assumed leading to the formulation of the frequency-domain Maxwell equations whose numerical resolution requires the solution of a linear system of equations (i.e in that case, the numerical method is naturally implicit). Heterogeneity of the propagation media is taken into account in the Maxwell equations through the electrical permittivity, the magnetic permeability and the electric conductivity coefficients. In the general case, the electrical permittivity and the magnetic permeability are tensors whose entries depend on space (i.e heterogeneity in space) and frequency. In the latter case, the time-domain numerical modeling of such materials requires specific techniques in order to switch from the frequency evolution of the electromagnetic coefficients to a time dependency. Moreover, there exist several mathematical models for the frequency evolution of these coefficients (Debye model, Drude model, Drude-Lorentz model, etc.).
In the case of elastodynamics, the mathematical model of interest is the system of elastodynamic equations  for which several formulations can be considered such as the velocity-stress system. For this system, as with Yee's scheme for time-domain electromagnetics, one of the most popular numerical method is the finite difference method proposed by J. Virieux  in 1986. Heterogeneity of the propagation media is taken into account in the elastodynamic equations through the Lamé and mass density coefficients. A frequency dependence of the Lamé coefficients allows to take into account physical attenuation of the wave fields and characterizes a viscoelastic material. Again, several mathematical models are available for expressing the frequency evolution of the Lamé coefficients.