The Athena++ Adaptive Mesh Refinement Framework: Design and Magnetohydrodynamic Solvers

James M. Stone, Kengo Tomida, Christopher J. White, Kyle G. Felker

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

262 Scopus citations


The design and implementation of a new framework for adaptive mesh refinement calculations are described. It is intended primarily for applications in astrophysical fluid dynamics, but its flexible and modular design enables its use for a wide variety of physics. The framework works with both uniform and nonuniform grids in Cartesian and curvilinear coordinate systems. It adopts a dynamic execution model based on a simple design called a "task list"that improves parallel performance by overlapping communication and computation, simplifies the inclusion of a diverse range of physics, and even enables multiphysics models involving different physics in different regions of the calculation. We describe physics modules implemented in this framework for both nonrelativistic and relativistic magnetohydrodynamics (MHD). These modules adopt mature and robust algorithms originally developed for the Athena MHD code and incorporate new extensions: support for curvilinear coordinates, higher-order time integrators, more realistic physics such as a general equation of state, and diffusion terms that can be integrated with super-time-stepping algorithms. The modules show excellent performance and scaling, with well over 80% parallel efficiency on over half a million threads. The source code has been made publicly available.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number4
JournalAstrophysical Journal, Supplement Series
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jul 2020

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science


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