The WHS Solver uses a Bi-Conjugate Gradient Stabilized (Bi-CGSTAB) acceleration routine implemented with Stone incomplete decomposition for preconditioning of the groundwater flow partial differential equations. This solver, as all iterative solvers, approaches the solution of a large set of partial differential equations iteratively through an approximate solution. Because the matrix equation for groundwater flow is initially "ill-conditioned", effective pre-conditioning of these matrices is necessary for an efficient solution.

The WHS solver works on a two-tier approach to a solution at one time step. Outer iterations are used to vary the factorized parameter matrix in an approach toward the solution. An outer iteration is where the hydrogeologic parameters of the flow system are updated (i.e., transmissivity, saturated thickness, storativity) in the factorized set of matrices. Different levels of factorization allow these matrices to be initialized differently to increase the efficiency of solution and model stability. Inner iterations are used to iteratively solve the matrices created in the outer iterations.

The solver parameters for the WHS method are described below:

•Maximum Number of Outer (non-linear) Iterations: [Default = 50] This parameter provides an upper limit on the number of outer iterations to be performed. The maximum number of iterations will only be used if a convergent solution is not reached beforehand. Fifty iterations should be adequate for most problems. However, if the maximum number of outer iterations is reached and an appropriate mass balance error is not achieved, this value should be increased.

•Maximum Number of Inner Iterations: [Default = 25] This parameter provides an upper limit on the number of inner iterations to be performed. This number of iterations will only be used if a convergent solution for the current set of matrices in the "outer" iteration is not reached beforehand. Twenty-five inner iterations should be adequate for most problems. However, if the maximum number of inner iterations was used for all outer iterations and an appropriate mass balance error was not achieved, this value can be increased.

•Head Change Criterion for Convergence: [Default = 0.01] After every outer iteration is completed, the solver checks for the maximum change in the solution at every cell. If the maximum change in the solution is below a set convergence tolerance (set here in the working units of feet or metres) then the solution has converged and the solver stops, otherwise a new outer iteration is started. A solution accurate to 0.01 [ft. or m] will normally be sufficient for most problems unless the maximum head change throughout the modeled domain is less than 1 foot or metre. If an appropriate mass balance is not achieved and the number of inner and outer iterations is within the maximums, this value can be decreased by an order of magnitude.

•Residual Criterion for Convergence: [Default = 0.01] While the head change criterion is used to judge the overall solver convergence, the residual criterion is used to judge the convergence of the inner iterations of the solver. If the change in successive inner iterations is less than the tolerance specified here (in working units of feet or metres), then the solver will proceed with the next outer iteration. The residual criterion for convergence of 0.001 should be appropriate for most problems. However, if you notice that only a few inner iterations are being performed for every outer iteration and an appropriate mass balance is not achieved, this parameter value can be decreased by one or more orders of magnitude.

•Damping Factor for the Outer Iterations: [Default = 1] This factor allows the user to reduce (dampen) the head change calculated during each successive outer iteration. For most "well posed" and physically realistic groundwater flow problems, the dampening factor of one will be appropriate. This parameter can be used to make a non-convergent (oscillating or divergent) solution process more stable such that a solution will be achieved. This is done by decreasing the damping factor to a value between 0 and 1 (only rarely < 0.6). This parameter is similar to "acceleration parameters" used in other solvers.

•Relative Residual Criterion: [Default = 0] This parameter provides another method of checking for convergence of the inner iteration. This method compares the residual from the most recent inner iteration to the residual from the initial inner iteration. Once the most recent inner iteration residual is below the initial inner iteration residual times the relative residual criterion, the current outer iteration is completed and a new outer iteration will be started.

•Factorization Level: [Default = 0] There are two “levels” of factorization available with the WHS solver, 0 and 1. Level 0 requires more outer iterations but less memory. Level 1 requires fewer outer iterations but more memory. While convergence of the solver requires fewer iterations with a factorization level of 1, the memory required to run the solver increases with this factorization level. Also, the work per iteration increases with the level 1 factorization such that the total solution time may not be less than the solution time using level 0 factorization.

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