Conservation laws are solved by a local Galerkin finite element procedure with adaptive space-time mesh refinement and explicit time integration. A distributed octree structure representing a spatial decomposition of the domain is used for mesh generation, and later may be used to correct for processor load imbalances introduced at adaptive enrichment steps. A Courant stability condition is used to select smaller time steps on smaller elements of the mesh, thereby greatly increasing efficiency relative to methods having a single global time step. To accommodate the variable time steps, octree partitioning is extended to use weights derived from element size. Computational results are presented for the three-dimensional Euler equations of compressible flow solved on an IBM SP2 computer. The problem examined is the flow inside a perforated shock tube.
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