# Integrating across Singularities

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An initial value problem for a simple autonomous differential equation may develop singularities that prevent most time-discrete integrators from following the trajectory reliably. An example of this phenomenon is given by the ODE , for which the initial condition yields the solution . This ODE describes the rotation of a rigid body around an axis fixed in space in a formalism that describes the attitude of the body by Euler–Rodrigues parameters (instead of, say, Euler angles or orthogonal matrices). Thus we have a setting that asks for continuing the trajectory across the singularities, which occur whenever is plus some integer multiple of .

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Contributed by: Ulrich Mutze (March 2011)

Open content licensed under CC BY-NC-SA

## Snapshots

## Details

By checking the box "tangent squared", you replace the ODE by an ODE that is constructed such that its solution is . For this we have . The sign factor has to switch whenever the trajectory passes a singularity and also when . As the program shows, the asynchronous leapfrog integrator can easily be made to do this switching. So it is not necessary to know in advance the values for which switching has to take place.

Snapshot 1: adjusted for good representation of the exact solution

Snapshot 2: not so well adjusted; no good behavior of the reversed trajectory

Snapshot 3: set too large; complete disorder after the first singularity

References

[1] Ulrich Mutze, An Asynchronous Leap-Frog Method, 2008. http://www.ma.utexas.edu/mp_arc/c/08/08-197.pdf.

[2] Alternate link for [1]: http://www.ulrichmutze.de/articles/leapfrog4.pdf.

[3] Ulrich Mutze, On Vectors, Points, Rotations, and Rigid Bodies. http://www.ulrichmutze.de/pedagogic_stuff/geo_10.pdf.

## Permanent Citation