Specifying (Non)Linear Solvers and Preconditioners

One of the key features of DifferentialEquations.jl is its flexibility. Keeping with this trend, many of the native Julia solvers provided by DifferentialEquations.jl allow you to choose the method for linear and nonlinear solving. This section details how to make that choice.


We highly recommend looking at the Solving Large Stiff Equations tutorial which goes through these options in a real-world example.


These options do not apply to the Sundials differential equation solvers (CVODE_BDF, CVODE_Adams, ARKODE, and IDA). For complete descriptions of similar functionality for Sundials, see the Sundials ODE solver documentation and Sundials DAE solver documentation.

Linear Solvers: linsolve Specification

For linear solvers, DifferentialEquations.jl uses LinearSolve.jl. Any LinearSolve.jl algorithm can be used as the linear solver simply by passing the algorithm choice to linsolve. For example, the following tells TRBDF2 to use KLU.jl

TRBDF2(linsolve = KLUFactorization())

Many choices exist, including GPU offloading, so consult the LinearSolve.jl documentation for more details on the choices.

Preconditioners: precs Specification

Any LinearSolve.jl-compatible preconditioner can be used as a left or right preconditioner. Preconditioners are specified by the Pl,Pr = precs(W,du,u,p,t,newW,Plprev,Prprev,solverdata) function where the arguments are defined as:

  • W: the current Jacobian of the nonlinear system. Specified as either $I - \gamma J$ or $I/\gamma - J$ depending on the algorithm. This will commonly be a WOperator type defined by OrdinaryDiffEq.jl. It is a lazy representation of the operator. Users can construct the W-matrix on demand by calling convert(AbstractMatrix,W) to receive an AbstractMatrix matching the jac_prototype.
  • du: the current ODE derivative
  • u: the current ODE state
  • p: the ODE parameters
  • t: the current ODE time
  • newW: a Bool which specifies whether the W matrix has been updated since the last call to precs. It is recommended that this is checked to only update the preconditioner when newW == true.
  • Plprev: the previous Pl.
  • Prprev: the previous Pr.
  • solverdata: Optional extra data the solvers can give to the precs function. Solver-dependent and subject to change.

The return is a tuple (Pl,Pr) of the LinearSolve.jl-compatible preconditioners. To specify one-sided preconditioning, simply return nothing for the preconditioner which is not used.

Additionally, precs must supply the dispatch:

Pl,Pr = precs(W,du,u,p,t,::Nothing,::Nothing,::Nothing,solverdata)

which is used in the solver setup phase in order to construct the integrator type with the preconditioners (Pl,Pr).

The default is precs=DEFAULT_PRECS where the default preconditioner function is defined as:

DEFAULT_PRECS(W,du,u,p,t,newW,Plprev,Prprev,solverdata) = nothing,nothing

Nonlinear Solvers: nlsolve Specification

All of the Julia-based implicit solvers (OrdinaryDiffEq.jl, StochasticDiffEq.jl, etc.) allow for choosing the nonlinear solver that is used to handle the implicit system. While fully modifiable and customizable, most users should stick to the pre-defined nonlinear solver choices. These are:

  • NLNewton(; κ=1//100, max_iter=10, fast_convergence_cutoff=1//5, new_W_dt_cutoff=1//5): A quasi-Newton method. The default.
  • NLAnderson(; κ=1//100, max_iter=10, max_history::Int=5, aa_start::Int=1, droptol=nothing, fast_convergence_cutoff=1//5): Anderson acceleration. While more stable than functional iteration, this method is less stable than Newton's method but does not require a Jacobian.
  • NLFunctional(; κ=1//100, max_iter=10, fast_convergence_cutoff=1//5): This method is the least stable but does not require Jacobians. Should only be used for non-stiff ODEs.