Grid functions

In Bempp, data on a given grid is represented as a GridFunction object. A GridFunction consists of a set of basis function coefficients and a corresponding Space object (as described in the spaces tutorial). In the following we will discuss the different ways of creating a grid function in Bempp.

Initialising a grid function from a Python callable

In many applications, such as acoustic scattering problems, we are given an analytic expression for boundary data. For example, the following code defines a wave travelling with unit wavenumber along the x-axis in the positive direction.

import numpy as np
def fun(x, normal, domain_index, result):    
    result[0] = np.exp(1j * x[0])

A Python callable that you want to use to build a GridFunction should always have four inputs. The first argument x is the coordinates of an evaluation point. The second argument normal is the normal direction at the evaluation point. The third one is the domain_index. This corresponds to the physical id in Gmsh and can be used to assign different boundary data to different parts of the grid. The last argument result is the variable that stores the value of the callable. It is a numpy array with as many components as the basis functions of the underlying space have.

In order to discretise this callable, we need to define a suitable space object. Below we define a space of continuous, piecewise linear functions on a spherical grid.

import bempp.api
grid = bempp.api.shapes.regular_sphere(5)
space = bempp.api.function_space(grid, "DP", 1)

The next command now discretizes the Python callable by projecting it onto the space.

grid_fun = bempp.api.GridFunction(space, fun=fun)

Before we describe in detail what is happening, we want to visualise the grid_fun object. This can be done with the following command, which opens Gmsh externally as a viewer to show the GridFunction object


By default, the real part of grid_fun is plotted. There are more advanced functions to control this behaviour.

We now take a closer look at what happens in the initialization of this GridFunction. Denote the global basis functions of the space by \psi_j, j=1,\dots,N. The computation of the grid function consists of two steps:

  1. Compute the projection coefficients p_j=\int_{\Gamma}\overline{\psi_j(\mathbf{y})}f(\mathbf{y})\mathrm{d}\mathbf{y}, where f is the analytic function to be converted into a grid function and \Gamma is the surface defined by the grid.
  2. Compute the basis coefficients c_j from Mc=p, where M is the mass matrix defined by M_{ij}=\int_{\Gamma}\overline{\psi_i(\mathbf{y})}\psi_j(\mathbf{y})\mathrm{d}\mathbf{y}.

This is an orthogonal \mathcal{L}^2(\Gamma)-projection onto the basis \{\psi_1,...,\psi_N\}.

Initialising a grid function from coefficients or projections

Instead of an analytic expression, we can initialize a GridFunction object also from a vector c of coefficients or a vector p of projections. This can be done as follows.

grid_fun = GridFunction(space, coefficients=c)
grid_fun = GridFunction(space, projections=p, dual_space=dual)

The argument dual_space gives the space with which the projection coefficients were computed. The parameter is optional and if it is not given then space == dual_space is assumed (i.e. \mathcal{L}^2(\Gamma)-projection).