Solving the coupled system improves computational efficiency of the bidomain equations

IEEE Trans Biomed Eng. 2009 Oct;56(10):2404-12. doi: 10.1109/TBME.2009.2022548. Epub 2009 May 19.


The bidomain equations are frequently used to model the propagation of cardiac action potentials across cardiac tissue. At the whole organ level, the size of the computational mesh required makes their solution a significant computational challenge. As the accuracy of the numerical solution cannot be compromised, efficiency of the solution technique is important to ensure that the results of the simulation can be obtained in a reasonable time while still encapsulating the complexities of the system. In an attempt to increase efficiency of the solver, the bidomain equations are often decoupled into one parabolic equation that is computationally very cheap to solve and an elliptic equation that is much more expensive to solve. In this study, the performance of this uncoupled solution method is compared with an alternative strategy in which the bidomain equations are solved as a coupled system. This seems counterintuitive as the alternative method requires the solution of a much larger linear system at each time step. However, in tests on two 3-D rabbit ventricle benchmarks, it is shown that the coupled method is up to 80% faster than the conventional uncoupled method-and that parallel performance is better for the larger coupled problem.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Action Potentials / physiology*
  • Algorithms*
  • Animals
  • Computer Simulation
  • Computing Methodologies*
  • Electric Stimulation
  • Finite Element Analysis
  • Heart / innervation*
  • Heart Ventricles / innervation
  • Membrane Potentials / physiology
  • Models, Neurological*
  • Rabbits
  • Time Factors