kdawson from the tools-of-an-arcane-trade dept.
ObsessiveMathsFreak writes "I'm an applied mathematician who has recently needed to obtain good numerical approximations to the classic second-order wave equation, preferably in three space dimensions. A lot of googling has not revealed much on what I had assumed would be a well-studied problem. Most of the standard numerical methods, finite difference/finite element methods, don't seem to work very well in the case of variable wave speed at different points in the domain, which is exactly the case that I need. Are any in this community working on numerically solving wave equation problems? What numerical methods do you use, and which programs do you find best suited to the task? How do you deal with stability issues, boundary/initial values, and other pitfalls? Are there different methods for electromagnetic wave problems? Finally, when the numbers have all been crunched, how do you visualize your hard-earned data?"
The best book on programming for the layman is "Alice in Wonderland";
but that's because it's the best book on anything for the layman.