A fast multipole method for the three-dimensional Stokes equations

Anna Karin Tornberg, Leslie Greengard

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Many problems in Stokes flow (and linear elasticity) require the evaluation of vector fields defined in terms of sums involving large numbers of fundamental solutions. In the fluid mechanics setting, these are typically the Stokeslet (the kernel of the single layer potential) or the Stresslet (the kernel of the double layer potential). In this paper, we present a simple and efficient method for the rapid evaluation of such fields, using a decomposition into a small number of Coulombic N-body problems, following an approach similar to that of Fu and Rodin [Y. Fu, G.J. Rodin, Fast solution methods for three-dimensional Stokesian many-particle problems, Commun. Numer. Meth. En. 16 (2000) 145-149]. While any fast summation algorithm for Coulombic interactions can be employed, we present numerical results from a scheme based on the most modern version of the fast multipole method [H. Cheng, L. Greengard, V. Rokhlin, A fast adaptive multipole algorithm in three dimensions, J. Comput. Phys. 155 (1999) 468-498]. This approach should be of value in both the solution of boundary integral equations and multiparticle dynamics.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1613-1619
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Computational Physics
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jan 10 2008

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Numerical Analysis
  • Modeling and Simulation
  • Physics and Astronomy (miscellaneous)
  • General Physics and Astronomy
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Computational Mathematics
  • Applied Mathematics


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