Integrator Interface

Integrator Interface

The integrator interface gives one the ability to interactively step through the numerical solving of a differential equation. Through this interface, one can easily monitor results, modify the problem during a run, and dynamically continue solving as one sees fit.

Note: this is currently only offered by OrdinaryDiffEq.jl, DelayDiffEq.jl, and StochasticDiffEq.jl. Solvers from other packages will support this in the near future.

Initialization and Stepping

To initialize an integrator, use the syntax:

integrator = init(prob,alg;kwargs...)

The keyword args which are accepted are the same Common Solver Options used by solve. The type which is returned is the integrator. One can manually choose to step via the step! command:


which will take one successful step. This type also implements an integrator interface, so one can step n times (or to the last tstop) using the take iterator:

for i in take(integrator,n) end

One can loop to the end by using solve!(integrator) or using the integrator interface:

for i in integrator end

In addition, some helper iterators are provided to help monitor the solution. For example, the tuples iterator lets you view the values:

for (t,u) in tuples(integrator)
  @show t,u

and the intervals iterator lets you view the full interval:

for (tprev,uprev,t,u) in intervals(integrator)
  @show tprev,t

Lastly, one can dynamically control the "endpoint". The initialization simply makes prob.tspan[2] the last value of tstop, and many of the iterators are made to stop at the final tstop value. However, step! will always take a step, and one can dynamically add new values of tstops by modifiying the variable in the options field: add_tstop!(integrator,new_t).

Handing Integrators

The integrator type holds all of the information for the intermediate solution of the differential equation. Useful fields are:

The userdata is the type which is provided by the user as a keyword arg in init. opts holds all of the common solver options, and can be mutated to change the solver characteristics. For example, to modify the absolute tolerance for the future timesteps, one can do:

integrator.opts.abstol = 1e-9

The sol field holds the current solution. This current solution includes the interpolation function if available, and thus integrator.sol(t) lets one interpolate efficiently over the whole current solution. Additionally, a a "current interval interpolation function" is provided on the integrator type via integrator(t). This uses only the solver information from the interval [tprev,t] to compute the interpolation, and is allowed to extrapolate beyond that interval.

Note about mutating

Be cautious: one should not directly mutate the t and u fields of the integrator. Doing so will destroy the accuracy of the interpolator and can harm certain algorithms. Instead if one wants to introduce discontinuous changes, one should use the Event Handling and Callback Functions. Modifications within a callback affect! surrounded by saves provides an error-free handling of the discontinuity.

Integrator vs Solution

The integrator and the solution have very different actions because they have very different meanings. The Solution type is a type with history: it stores all of the (requested) timepoints and interpolates/acts using the values closest in time. On the other hand, the Integrator type is a local object. It only knows the times of the interval it currently spans, the current caches and values, and the current state of the solver (the current options, tolerances, etc.). These serve very different purposes:

If one wants the solution object, then one can find it in integrator.sol.

Function Interface

In addition to the type interface, a function interface is provided which allows for safe modifications of the integrator type, and allows for uniform usage throughout the ecosystem (for packages/algorithms which implement the functions). The following functions make up the interface:

Saving Controls

Cache Iterators

Stepping Controls




Note that not all of these functions will be implemented for every algorithm. Some have hard limitations. For example, Sundials.jl cannot resize problems. When a function is not limited, an error will be thrown.

Additional Options

The following options can additionally be specified in init (or be mutated in the opts) for further control of the integrator:

For example, if one wants to iterate but only stop at specific values, one can choose:

integrator = init(prob,Tsit5();dt=1//2^(4),tstops=[0.5],advance_to_tstop=true)
for (t,u) in tuples(integrator)
  @test t ∈ [0.5,1.0]

which will only enter the loop body at the values in tstops (here, prob.tspan[2]==1.0 and thus there are two values of tstops which are hit). Addtionally, one can solve! only to 0.5 via:

integrator = init(prob,Tsit5();dt=1//2^(4),tstops=[0.5])
integrator.opts.stop_at_next_tstop = true

Plot Recipe

Like the Solution type, a plot recipe is provided for the Integrator type. Since the Integrator type is a local state type on the current interval, plot(integrator) returns the solution on the current interval. The same options for the plot recipe are provided as for sol, meaning one can choose variables via the vars keyword argument, or change the plotdensity / turn on/off denseplot.

Additionally, since the integrator is an integrator, this can be used in the Plots.jl animate command to iteratively build an animation of the solution while solving the differential equation.

For an example of manually chaining together the iterator interface and plotting, one should try the following:

using DifferentialEquations, DiffEqProblemLibrary, Plots

# Linear ODE which starts at 0.5 and solves from t=0.0 to t=1.0
prob = ODEProblem((t,u)->1.01u,0.5,(0.0,1.0))

using Plots
integrator = init(prob,Tsit5();dt=1//2^(4),tstops=[0.5])
for i in integrator
step!(integrator); plot!(integrator,vars=(0,1),legend=false)

Iterator Plot