June 9, 1996
4
Abstract
This document describes the N-body problem and ways that it can be solved. The
N-body problem is developed mathematically and shown to be an Ordinary Differential
Equation (ODE). Using numerical analysis, solutions to the N-body ODE are constructed.
Discussions of methods of evaluating the gravitational force function are also surveyed.
Emphasis is given to details that are relevant to the program XStar, which graphically dis-
plays evolving N-body systems. The differences between the solutions to ODEs presented
in numerical analysis texts and the requirements of the N-body problem in general, and the
XStar program in specific are also discussed.
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