New Discontinuous Galerkin Methods for the Keller-Segel Chemotaxis Model

Yekaterina Epshteyn
Department of Mathematical Sciences
Carnegie Mellon University
Pittsburgh, PA 15213


Alexander Kurganov
Mathematics Department
Tulane University
New Orleans, LA 70118

Abstract: We develop a family of new interior penalty discontinuous Galerkin methods for the Keller-Segel chemotaxis model. This model is described by a system of two nonlinear PDEs: a convection-diffusion equation for the cell density coupled with a reaction-diffusion equation for the chemoattractant concentration. It has been recently shown that the convective part of this system is of a mixed hyperbolic-elliptic type, which may cause severe instabilities when the studied system is solved by straightforward numerical methods. Therefore, the first step in the derivation of our new methods is made by introducing the new variable for the gradient of the chemoattractant concentration and by reformulating the original Keller-Segel model in the form of a convection-diffusion-reaction system with a hyperbolic convective part. We then design interior penalty discontinuous Galerkin methods for the rewritten Keller-Segel system. Our methods employ the central-upwind numerical fluxes, originally developed in the context of finite-volume methods for hyperbolic systems of conservation laws.

In this paper, we consider Cartesian grids and prove error estimates for the proposed high-order discontinuous Galerkin methods. Our proof is valid for pre-blow-up times since we assume boundedness of the exact solution. We also show that the blow-up time of the exact solution is bounded from above by the blow-up time of our numerical solution. In the numerical tests presented below, we demonstrate that the obtained numerical solutions have no negative values and are oscillation-free, even though no slope limiting technique has been implemented.

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