Adams’ Method

Taylor Expansion of Functions

Suppose we have a function \(f(x)\), Taylor expansion arround a point \(x_0\) is

\[f(x) = f(x_0) + f'(x_0) (x - x_0) + \cdots\]

This is also named Maclaurin series.

For linear first ODE,

\[\frac{dy}{dx} = f(x, y),\]

This equation can always be written as a integral form

\[y(x_{n+1}) - y(x_n) = \int_{x_n}^{x_{n+1}} f(x,y) dx,\]

which is basically a very general idea of how to numerically solve such an equation, as long as we can solve the integral efficiently and accurately. In other words, we are dealing with

\[y(x_{n+1}) = y(x_n) + \int_{x_n}^{x_{n+1}} f(x,y) dx.\]

The problem is how exactly do we calculate the integral or the iteraction. Two methods are proposed as explicit method (Adams-Bashforth Method) and implicit method (Adams-Moulton Method).

What can be done is to Taylor expand the integrand. At first order of \(f(x,y)\), we would have

\[y(x_{n+1}) = y(x_n) + \int_{x_n}^{x_{n+1}} f(x_{n},y(x_n)) dx = y(x_n) +(x_{n+1}- x_n) f(x_{n},y(x_n)) ,\]

which is the Euler method. For simplicity step size is defined as

(1)\[\delta x = x_{n+1}- x_n.\]

Also to simplify the notation, we introduce the notation

\[y_n = y(x_n).\]

For second order, we have at least two different methods to approximate the integral.

  • Adams-Bashforth method is to approximate the integral using

    \[\int_{x_n}^{x_{n+1}} f(x,y) dx \sim \frac{1}{2} ( 3 f( x_n - f( x_{n-1}, y_{n-1} ) , y_n) ) \delta x\]

    where we used the definition of step size (1).

  • Adams-Moulton method uses trapezoidal rule, which approximates the integral as

    \[\int_{x_n}^{x_{n+1}} f(x,y) dx \sim \frac{1}{2} f( x_{n+1} + f(x_n, y_n) , y_{n+1} ),\]

    which is similar to backward Euler method but of second order.

In fact the AB and AM methods to the first order are

  • Adams-Bashforth Method First Order = Forward Euler Method;
  • Adams-Moulton Method First Order = Backward Euler Method.


scipy.odeint uses adams for nonstiff equations, where even higher order are used. The return infodictionary entry nqu shows the orders for each successful step.