Monte Carlo methods are a very general and useful approach for the estimation of expectations arising from stochastic simulation. However, they can be computationally expensive, particularly when the cost of generating individual stochastic samples is very high, as in the case of stochastic PDEs. Multilevel Monte Carlo is a recently developed approach which greatly reduces the computational cost by performing most simulations with low accuracy at a correspondingly low cost, with relatively few simulations being performed at high accuracy and a high cost. In this article, we review the ideas behind the multilevel Monte Carlo method, and various recent generalizations and extensions, and discuss a number of applications which illustrate the flexibility and generality of the approach and the challenges in developing more efficient implementations with a faster rate of convergence of the multilevel correction variance.

Many optimal decision problems in scientific, engineering, and public sector applications involve both discrete decisions and nonlinear system dynamics that affect the quality of the final design or plan. These decision problems lead to mixed-integer nonlinear programming (MINLP) problems that combine the combinatorial difficulty of optimizing over discrete variable sets with the challenges of handling nonlinear functions. We review models and applications of MINLP, and survey the state of the art in methods for solving this challenging class of problems. Most solution methods for MINLP apply some form of tree search. We distinguish two broad classes of methods: single-tree and multitree methods. We discuss these two classes of methods first in the case where the underlying problem functions are convex. Classical single-tree methods include nonlinear branch-and-bound and branch-and-cut methods, while classical multitree methods include outer approximation and Benders decomposition. The most efficient class of methods for convex MINLP are hybrid methods that combine the strengths of both classes of classical techniques. Non-convex MINLPs pose additional challenges, because they contain non-convex functions in the objective function or the constraints; hence even when the integer variables are relaxed to be continuous, the feasible region is generally non-convex, resulting in many local minima. We discuss a range of approaches for tackling this challenging class of problems, including piecewise linear approximations, generic strategies for obtaining convex relaxations for non-convex functions, spatial branch-and-bound methods, and a small sample of techniques that exploit particular types of non-convex structures to obtain improved convex relaxations. We finish our survey with a brief discussion of three important aspects of MINLP. First, we review heuristic techniques that can obtain good feasible solution in situations where the search-tree has grown too large or we require real-time solutions. Second, we describe an emerging area of mixed-integer optimal control that adds systems of ordinary differential equations to MINLP. Third, we survey the state of the art in software for MINLP.

The subject of inverse problems in differential equations is of enormous practical importance, and has also generated substantial mathematical and computational innovation. Typically some form of regularization is required to ameliorate ill-posed behaviour. In this article we review the Bayesian approach to regularization, developing a function space viewpoint on the subject. This approach allows for a full characterization of all possible solutions, and their relative probabilities, whilst simultaneously forcing significant modelling issues to be addressed in a clear and precise fashion. Although expensive to implement, this approach is starting to lie within the range of the available computational resources in many application areas. It also allows for the quantification of uncertainty and risk, something which is increasingly demanded by these applications. Furthermore, the approach is conceptually important for the understanding of simpler, computationally expedient approaches to inverse problems.

In this paper we consider the construction, analysis, implementation and application of exponential integrators. The focus will be on two types of stiff problems. The first one is characterized by a Jacobian that possesses eigenvalues with large negative real parts. Parabolic partial differential equations and their spatial discretization are typical examples. The second class consists of highly oscillatory problems with purely imaginary eigenvalues of large modulus. Apart from motivating the construction of exponential integrators for various classes of problems, our main intention in this article is to present the mathematics behind these methods. We will derive error bounds that are independent of stiffness or highest frequencies in the system.Since the implementation of exponential integrators requires the evaluation of the product of a matrix function with a vector, we will briefly discuss some possible approaches as well. The paper concludes with some applications, in which exponential integrators are used.

This paper is a contemporary review of QMC ('quasi-Monte Carlo') methods, that is, equal-weight rules for the approximate evaluation of high-dimensional integrals over the unit cube [0, 1](s), where s may be large, or even infinite. After a general introduction, the paper surveys recent developments in lattice methods, digital nets, and related themes. Among those recent developments are methods of construction of both lattices and digital nets, to yield QMC rules that have a prescribed rate of convergence for sufficiently smooth functions, and ideally also guaranteed slow growth (or no growth) of the worst-case error as s increases. A crucial role is played by parameters called 'weights', since a careful use of the weight parameters is needed to ensure that the worst-case errors in an appropriately weighted function space are bounded, or grow only slowly, as the dimension s increases. Important tools for the analysis are weighted function spaces, reproducing kernel Hilbert spaces, and discrepancy, all of which are discussed with an appropriate level of detail.

In this article we consider finite element methods for approximating the solution of partial differential equations on surfaces. We focus on surface finite elements on triangulated surfaces, implicit surface methods using level set descriptions of the surface, unfitted finite element methods and diffuse interface methods. In order to formulate the methods we present the necessary geometric analysis and, in the context of evolving surfaces, the necessary transport formulae. A wide variety of equations and applications are covered. Some ideas of the numerical analysis are presented along with illustrative numerical examples.

A large number of imaging problems reduce to the optimization of a cost function, with typical structural properties. The aim of this paper is to describe the state of the art in continuous optimization methods for such problems, and present the most successful approaches and their interconnections. We place particular emphasis on optimal first-order schemes that can deal with typical non-smooth and large-scale objective functions used in imaging problems. We illustrate and compare the different algorithms using classical non-smooth problems in imaging, such as denoising and deblurring. Moreover, we present applications of the algorithms to more advanced problems, such as magnetic resonance imaging, multilabel image segmentation, optical flow estimation, stereo matching, and classification.

The heterogeneous multiscale method (HMM), a general framework for designing multiscale algorithms, is reviewed. Emphasis is given to the error analysis that comes naturally with the framework. Examples of finite element and finite difference HMM are presented. Applications to dynamical systems and stochastic simulation algorithms with multiple time scales, spall fracture and heat conduction in microprocessors are discussed.

Large linear systems of saddle point type arise in a wide variety of applications throughout computational science and engineering. Due to their indefiniteness and often poor spectral properties, such linear systems represent a significant challenge for solver developers. In recent years there has been a surge of interest in saddle point problems, and numerous solution techniques have been proposed for this type of system. The aim of this paper is to present and discuss a large selection of solution methods for linear systems in saddle point form, with an emphasis on iterative methods for large and sparse problems.

In this survey we consider the development and mathematical analysis of numerical methods for kinetic partial differential equations. Kinetic equations represent a way of describing the time evolution of a system consisting of a large number of particles. Due to the high number of dimensions and their intrinsic physical properties, the construction of numerical methods represents a challenge and requires a careful balance between accuracy and computational complexity. Here we review the basic numerical techniques for dealing with such equations, including the case of semi-Lagrangian methods, discrete-velocity models and spectral methods. In addition we give an overview of the current state of the art of numerical methods for kinetic equations. This covers the derivation of fast algorithms, the notion of asymptotic-preserving methods and the construction of hybrid schemes.

Finite differences provided the first numerical approach that permitted large-scale simulations in many applications areas, such as geophysical fluid dynamics. As accuracy and integration time requirements gradually increased, the focus shifted from finite differences to a variety of different spectral methods. During the last few years, radial basis functions, in particular in their 'local' RBF-FD form, have taken the major step from being mostly a curiosity approach for small-scale PDE 'toy problems' to becoming a major contender also for very large simulations on advanced distributed memory computer systems. Being entirely mesh-free, RBF-FD discretizations are also particularly easy to implement, even when local refinements are needed. This article gives some background to this development, and highlights some recent results.

This review paper collects several results that form part of the theoretical foundation of isogeometric methods. We analyse variational techniques for the numerical resolution of PDEs based on splines or NURBS and we provide optimal approximation and error estimates in several cases of interest. The theory presented also includes estimates for T-splines, which are an extension of splines allowing for local refinement. In particular, we focus our attention on elliptic and saddle point problems, and we define spline edge and face elements. Our theoretical results are demonstrated by a rich set of numerical examples. Finally, we discuss implementation and efficiency together with preconditioning issues for the final linear system.

We discuss the finite element approximation of eigenvalue problems associated with compact operators. While the main emphasis is on symmetric problems, some comments are present for non-self-adjoint operators as well. The topics covered include standard Galerkin approximations, non-conforming approximations, and approximation of eigenvalue problems in mixed form. Some applications of the theory are presented and, in particular, the approximation of the Maxwell eigenvalue problem is discussed in detail. The final part tries to introduce the reader to the fascinating setting of differential forms and homological techniques with the description of the Hodge–Laplace eigenvalue problem and its mixed equivalent formulations. Several examples and numerical computations complete the paper, ranging from very basic exercises to more significant applications of the developed theory.

This paper surveys the construction, properties, and applications of generalized barycentric coordinates on polygons and polyhedra. Applications include: surface mesh parametrization in geometric modelling; image, curve, and surface deformation in computer graphics; and polygonal and polyhedral finite element methods.

The structure from motion (SfM) problem in computer vision is to recover the three-dimensional (3D) structure of a stationary scene from a set of projective measurements, represented as a collection of two-dimensional (2D) images, via estimation of motion of the cameras corresponding to these images. In essence, SfM involves the three main stages of (i) extracting features in images (e.g. points of interest, lines, etc.) and matching these features between images, (ii) camera motion estimation (e.g. using relative pairwise camera positions estimated from the extracted features), and (iii) recovery of the 3D structure using the estimated motion and features (e.g. by minimizing the so-called reprojection error). This survey mainly focuses on relatively recent developments in the literature pertaining to stages (ii) and (iii). More specifically, after touching upon the early factorization-based techniques for motion and structure estimation, we provide a detailed account of some of the recent camera location estimation methods in the literature, followed by discussion of notable techniques for 3D structure recovery. We also cover the basics of the simultaneous localization and mapping (SLAM) problem, which can be viewed as a specific case of the SfM problem. Further, our survey includes a review of the fundamentals of feature extraction and matching (i.e. stage (i) above), various recent methods for handling ambiguities in 3D scenes, SfM techniques involving relatively uncommon camera models and image features, and popular sources of data and SfM software.

Partial differential equations (PDEs) with random input data, such as random loadings and coefficients, are reformulated as parametric, deterministic PDEs on parameter spaces of high, possibly infinite dimension. Tensorized operator equations for spatial and temporal k-point correlation functions of their random solutions are derived. Parametric, deterministic PDEs for the laws of the random solutions are derived. Representations of the random solutions' laws on infinite-dimensional parameter spaces in terms of ‘generalized polynomial chaos’ (GPC) series are established. Recent results on the regularity of solutions of these parametric PDEs are presented. Convergence rates of best N-term approximations, for adaptive stochastic Galerkin and collocation discretizations of the parametric, deterministic PDEs, are established. Sparse tensor products of hierarchical (multi-level) discretizations in physical space (and time), and GPC expansions in parameter space, are shown to converge at rates which are independent of the dimension of the parameter space. A convergence analysis of multi-level Monte Carlo (MLMC) discretizations of PDEs with random coefficients is presented. Sufficient conditions on the random inputs for superiority of sparse tensor discretizations over MLMC discretizations are established for linear elliptic, parabolic and hyperbolic PDEs with random coefficients.

Finite element exterior calculus is an approach to the design and understanding of finite element discretizations for a wide variety of systems of partial differential equations. This approach brings to bear tools from differential geometry, algebraic topology, and homological algebra to develop discretizations which are compatible with the geometric, topological, and algebraic structures which underlie well-posedness of the PDE problem being solved. In the finite element exterior calculus, many finite element spaces are revealed as spaces of piecewise polynomial differential forms. These connect to each other in discrete subcomplexes of elliptic differential complexes, and are also related to the continuous elliptic complex through projections which commute with the complex differential. Applications are made to the finite element discretization of a variety of problems, including the Hodge Laplacian, Maxwell’s equations, the equations of elasticity, and elliptic eigenvalue problems, and also to preconditioners.

The quantification of probabilistic uncertainties in the outputs of physical, biological, and social systems governed by partial differential equations with random inputs require, in practice, the discretization of those equations. Stochastic finite element methods refer to an extensive class of algorithms for the approximate solution of partial differential equations having random input data, for which spatial discretization is effected by a finite element method. Fully discrete approximations require further discretization with respect to solution dependences on the random variables. For this purpose several approaches have been developed, including intrusive approaches such as stochastic Galerkin methods, for which the physical and probabilistic degrees of freedom are coupled, and non-intrusive approaches such as stochastic sampling and interpolatory-type stochastic collocation methods, for which the physical and probabilistic degrees of freedom are uncoupled. All these method classes are surveyed in this article, including some novel recent developments. Details about the construction of the various algorithms and about theoretical error estimates and complexity analyses of the algorithms are provided. Throughout, numerical examples are used to illustrate the theoretical results and to provide further insights into the methodologies.

Digital images are matrices of equally spaced pixels, each containing a photon count. This photon count is a stochastic process due to the quantum nature of light. It follows that all images are noisy. Ever since digital images have existed, numerical methods have been proposed to improve the signal-to-noise ratio. Such 'denoising' methods require a noise model and an image model. It is relatively easy to obtain a noise model. As will be explained in the present paper, it is even possible to estimate it from a single noisy image.

The computational solution of problems can be restricted by the availability of solution methods for linear(ized) systems of equations. In conjunction with iterative methods, preconditioning is often the vital component in enabling the solution of such systems when the dimension is large. We attempt a broad review of preconditioning methods.