Positivity-preserving and energy-dissipative finite difference schemes for the Fokker-Planck and Keller-Segel equations

Jingwei Hu, Xiangxiong Zhang

In this work, we introduce semi-implicit or implicit finite difference schemes for the continuity equation with a gradient flow structure. Examples of such equations include the linear Fokker-Planck equation and the Keller-Segel equations. The two proposed schemes are first order accurate in time, explicitly solvable, and second order and fourth order accurate in space, which are obtained via finite difference implementation of the classical continuous finite element method. The fully discrete schemes are proven positivity-preserving and energy-dissipative: the second order scheme can achieve so unconditionally; the fourth order scheme only requires a mild time step and mesh size constraint. Furthermore, the fourth order scheme is the first high order spatial discretization that can achieve both positivity and energy decay properties, which is suitable for long time simulation and to obtain accurate steady state solutions.

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