Publications / Journal Article

Camellia: A Rapid Development Framework for Finite Element Solvers

Roberts, Nathan V.

The discontinuous Petrov-Galerkin (DPG) methodology of Demkowicz and Gopalakrishnan guarantees the optimality of the finite element solution in a user-controllable energy norm, and provides several features supporting adaptive schemes. The approach provides stability automatically; there is no need for carefully derived numerical fluxes (as in DG schemes) or for mesh-dependent stabilization terms (as in stabilized methods). In this paper, we focus on features of Camellia that facilitate implementation of new DPG formulations; chief among these is a rich set of features in support of symbolic manipulation, which allow, e.g., bilinear formulations in the code to appear much as they would on paper. Many of these features are general in the sense that they can also be used in the implementation of other finite element formulations. In fact, because DPG's requirements are essentially a superset of those of other finite element methods, Camellia provides built-in support for most common methods. We believe, however, that the combination of an essentially "hands-free" finite element methodology as found in DPG with the rapid development features of Camellia are particularly winsome, so we focus on use cases in this class. In addition to the symbolic manipulation features mentioned above, Camellia offers support for one-irregular adaptive meshes in 1D, 2D, 3D, and space-time. It provides a geometric multigrid preconditioner particularly suited for DPG problems, and supports distributed parallel execution using MPI. For its load balancing and distributed data structures, Camellia relies on packages from the Trilinos project, which simplifies interfacing with other computational science packages. Camellia also allows loading of standard mesh formats through an interface with the MOAB package. Camellia includes support for static condensation to eliminate element-interior degrees of freedom locally, usually resulting in substantial reduction of the cost of the global problem. We include a discussion of the variational formulations built into Camellia, with references to those formulations in the literature, as well as an MPI performance study.