Computational topology research of the past two decades has emphasized combinatorial techniques while numerical methods such as numerical linear algebra remain underutilized. While the combinatorial techniques have been very successful in diverse areas, for some applications, it is worth considering the numerical counterparts. We discuss one such application. Harmonic forms are elements of the kernel of the Hodge Laplacian operator and contain information about the topology of the manifold. If a particular cohomology class is chosen, the closed differential form with the smallest norm in that class is a harmonic form. We use these well-known facts to give an algorithm for solving the following problem: given a piecewise flat manifold simplicial complex (with or without boundary) and a closed piecewise polynomial differential form representing a cohomology class, find the discrete harmonic form in that cohomology class. We give a least squares based algorithm to solve this problem and show that the computed form satisfies the finite element exterior calculus (FEEC) equations for being a harmonic form. The piecewise polynomial spaces used are the spaces of trimmed polynomial forms, that is, arbitrary degree polynomial generalizations of Whitney forms which are used in FEEC. We also survey other methods for finding harmonic forms.

Full Text
Published version (Free)

Talk to us

Join us for a 30 min session where you can share your feedback and ask us any queries you have

Schedule a call