A Posteriori Error Estimates for Discontinuous Galerkin Methods on Polygonal and Polyhedral Meshes

Andrea Cangiani, Zhaonan Dong, Emmanuil H. Georgoulis

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We present a new residual-type energy-norm a posteriori error analysis for interior penalty discontinuous Galerkin (dG) methods for linear elliptic problems. The new error bounds are also applicable to dG methods on meshes consisting of elements with very general polygonal/ polyhedral shapes. The case of simplicial and/or box-type elements is included in the analysis as a special case. In particular, for the upper bounds, an arbitrary number of very small faces is allowed on each polygonal/polyhedral element, as long as certain mild shape-regularity assumptions are satisfied. As a corollary, the present analysis generalizes known a posteriori error bounds for dG methods, allowing in particular for meshes with an arbitrary number of irregular hanging nodes per element. The proof hinges on a new conforming recovery strategy in conjunction with a Helmholtz decomposition formula. The resulting a posteriori error bound involves jumps on the tangential derivatives along elemental faces. Local lower bounds are also proven for a number of practical cases. Numerical experiments are also presented, highlighting the practical value of the derived a posteriori error bounds as error estimators.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2352-2380
Number of pages29
JournalSIAM Journal on Numerical Analysis
Issue number5
Early online date17 Oct 2023
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2023


  • a posteriori error bound
  • discontinuous Galerkin
  • irregular hanging nodes
  • polygonal/polyhedral meshes
  • polytopic elements

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Numerical Analysis
  • Computational Mathematics
  • Applied Mathematics


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