Given a forward-in-time approximation I have the coupled equations: $$ \frac{T^{(n+1)} - T^{(n)}}{\Delta t} = x T^{(n)} - y h^{(n)} \\ \frac{h^{(n+1)} - h^{(n)}}{\Delta t} = -z h^{(n)} - \alpha T^{(n)} $$ where $x, y, z$ and $\alpha$ are constants, I see from my simulation that the solution is damping. But how can I use Von Neumann analysis to find the amplication factor $A$?

  • $\begingroup$ can someone explain von neumann stability analysis for system of equation $\endgroup$ Commented Dec 8, 2016 at 14:27

1 Answer 1


You can rewrite your finite difference method into the form

\begin{align}\left[\begin{matrix} T^{t+1} \\ h^{t+1}\end{matrix} \right]=\left[\begin{matrix}A_{11} & A_{12} \\ A_{21} & A_{22} \end{matrix} \right] \left[\begin{matrix} T^n\\h^n\end{matrix} \right] = \left[\begin{matrix}A_{11} & A_{12} \\ A_{21} & A_{22} \end{matrix} \right]^n\left[\begin{matrix} T^0\\h^0\end{matrix} \right] \end{align}

Rewritten this way, you will find that the matrix $A$ becomes $$A=I+\Delta tJ,$$ where $I$ is the identity matrix and $J$ is the jacobian of the RHS of your original system. $A$ can be thought of as the amplification matrix, whose eigenvalues determine the stability of the numerical system. To ensure absolute stability, you need to find a region in the complex vector space such that the spectral radius $\rho(A)<1$ (i.e. the dominant eigenvalue is less than one).

Of course, since this is a system of ODE's, you need to be extra careful. Stability and consistency may not be enough to ensure an accurate solution. You'll also need to check for Stiffness.

  • $\begingroup$ good answer. This may also explain the damping via A-stability. However, this is different from von Neumann stability analysis. $\endgroup$
    – Jan
    Commented Jan 28, 2014 at 20:42
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ @jan: indeed this is not von neumann analysis, for the equation itself isn't a PDE, but an ODE. $\endgroup$
    – Paul
    Commented Jan 28, 2014 at 20:53
  • $\begingroup$ Ouch, sounds like I need to learn me some more numerical methods before I attempt this! We've not covered stiffness or eigenvalues. $\endgroup$ Commented Jan 28, 2014 at 21:38

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