Constrained Transport Algorithms for Numerical Relativity. I. Development of a Finite-Difference Scheme
A scheme is presented for accurately propagating the gravitational field constraints in finite-difference implementations of numerical relativity. The method is based on similar techniques used in astrophysical magnetohydrodynamics and engineering electromagnetics and has properties of a finite differential calculus on a four-dimensional manifold. It is motivated by the arguments that (1) an evolutionary scheme that naturally satisfies the Bianchi identities will propagate the constraints and (2) methods in which temporal and spatial derivatives commute will satisfy the Bianchi identities implicitly. The proposed algorithm exactly propagates the constraints in a local Riemann normal coordinate system; i.e., all terms in the Bianchi identities (which all vary as ∂3g) cancel to machine roundoff accuracy at each time step. In a general coordinate basis, these terms and those that vary as ∂g∂2g also can be made to cancel, but differences of connection terms, proportional to (∂g)3, will remain, resulting in a net truncation error. Detailed and complex numerical experiments with four-dimensional staggered grids will be needed to completely examine the stability and convergence properties of this method. If such techniques are successful for finite-difference implementations of numerical relativity, other implementations, such as finite-element (and eventually pseudospectral) techniques, might benefit from schemes that use four-dimensional grids and that have temporal and spatial derivatives that commute.