Contact variational integrators

Mats Vermeeren, Alessandro Bravetti, Marcello Seri

We present geometric numerical integrators for contact flows that stem from a discretization of Herglotz' variational principle. First we show that the resulting discrete map is a contact transformation and that any contact map can be derived from a variational principle. Then we discuss the backward error analysis of our variational integrators, including the construction of a modified Lagrangian. Throughout the paper we use the damped harmonic oscillator as a benchmark example to compare our integrators to their symplectic analogues.

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