Numerical Errors in Water Profile Computation

by Edward A. McBean, Asst. Prof.; Dept. of Civ. Engrg., Univ. of Waterloo, Waterloo, Ontario, Canada,
Frank E. Perkins, (M.ASCE), Prof.; Dept. of Civ. Engrg., Massachusetts Inst. of Tech., Cambridge, Mass.,

Serial Information: Journal of the Hydraulics Division, 1975, Vol. 101, Issue 11, Pg. 1389-1403

Document Type: Journal Paper


The numerically-generated errors created during water surface profile computation are examined. Theoretical equations are developed to serve as bounds on the actual errors that are introduced during the computation. The analysis also provides criteria which may be used in the rational selection of the calculation increment. Experimental results demonstrate that in most engineering applications the effect of numerical errors on the computed profile will be considerably smaller than that due to data uncertainty. There are cases, however, when numerical error generation is significant, but these appear to be predictable through the error bound equations.

Subject Headings: Numerical methods | Computing in civil engineering | Errors (statistics) | Water surface profiles | Uncertainty principles

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