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Lessons for adaptive mesh refinement in numerical relativity

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We demonstrate the flexibility and utility of the Berger-Rigoutsos Adaptive Mesh Refinement (AMR) algorithm used in the open-source numerical relativity code GRChombo for generating gravitational waveforms from binary black-hole inspirals, and for studying other problems involving non-trivial matter configurations. We show that GRChombo can produce high quality binary black-hole waveforms through a code comparison with the established numerical relativity code Lean. We also discuss some of the technical challenges involved in making use of full AMR (as opposed to, e.g. moving box mesh refinement), including the numerical effects caused by using various refinement criteria when regridding. We suggest several "rules of thumb" for when to use different tagging criteria for simulating a variety of physical phenomena. We demonstrate the use of these different criteria through example evolutions of a scalar field theory. Finally, we also review the current status and general capabilities of GRChombo.


Funder: Queen’s College, University of Oxford; doi:

Funder: Homerton College, University of Cambridge; doi:


numerical relativity, adaptive mesh refinement, gravitational waves, compact objects, computational methods

Journal Title

Classical and Quantum Gravity

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IOP Publishing
STFC (1936371)
Science and Technology Facilities Council (1936371)
European Research Council (646597)
Science and Technology Facilities Council (ST/P000673/1)
Science and Technology Facilities Council (ST/R002452/1)
Science and Technology Facilities Council (ST/R00689X/1)
STFC (ST/W001667/1)
STFC (ST/V005669/1)
STFC (ST/M007073/1)
STFC (ST/T00049X/1)