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Toronto, Canada, September 17-20, 2006

WA2.4

Formulations and Solution Methods

Wei Shen, Yu Nie, and H. Michael Zhang

Abstract The evaluation of path marginal cost, i.e., the

gradient of the objective function with respect to path ows,

lies in the kernel of solution algorithms for path-based SODTA models. We identify a common critical deciency in

existing path marginal cost evaluation methods, develop a

new path marginal cost evaluation method by tracing path

ow perturbation propagations and design the corresponding

solution algorithm for path-based SO-DTA models in networks

in mono-centric cities. Our numerical experiments indicate

that this algorithm can generate numerical solutions close to

analytical solutions while the solution scheme based on the

existing path marginal cost evaluation method cannot.

I. I NTRODUCTION

The system optimal dynamic trafc assignment (SO-DTA)

problem determines the time-dependent trafc ow pattern

that minimizes the total system costs. The problem is of great

importance to evaluating the efciency of real-time trafc

management strategies, such as dynamic congestion pricing,

incident management and emergency evacuation plans.

The SO-DTA problem is traditionally formulated and

solved as a mathematical program which minimizes the

sum of travel costs over a feasible set dened mainly by

link-based trafc propagation and demand conservation constraints. (e.g., Merchant & Nemhauser 1978 [1], Carey 1987

[2], Wie 1998 [3], Ziliaskopoulos [4], etc.) . However, to

represent realistic trafc propagation rules, non-convexity in

the feasible set is often inevitable, because explicitly ensuring

the rst-in-rst-out (FIFO) rule for multiple commodities at

the link level and analytically describing trafc dynamics

both require non-linear equality constraints, making the

model difcult to solve.

Path-based SO-DTA models, which encapsulate trafc

propagation into a path cost mapping and hence may bypass

the non-convexity issue associated with link-based SO-DTA

models. However, research along this line is rather limited.

One major reason is that solving path-based SO-DTA models

usually requires gradients of the total system cost, i.e., the

change in the total system cost with respect to the unit change

in the path ow, which we call path marginal cost (PMC)

hereafter. Since the path cost mapping usually does not have

a closed form, the PMC evaluation is not straightforward.

This paper is motivated to make a thorough study on

path-based SO-DTA models, including model formulations

and solution procedures. In particular, we emphasize the

most critical part in the solution procedure, i.e., the PMC

evaluation. We try to clarify existing misconceptions about

the PMC evaluation, identify the associated difculties, and

with a special type of topology.

The remainder of this paper is organized as follows:

Section II introduces the formulation of the path-based SODTA model. The optimal conditions that resemble Wardrops

second principle [5] are provided and the importance of

the PMC evaluation in solving path-based SO-DTA models is emphasized. The PMC evaluation is then discussed

thoroughly in Section III. Section IV presents the solution

procedure for the path-based SO-DTA models in networks

in mono-centric cities. Computational results and discussions

are reported in Section V, and Section VI presents conclusions and future research directions.

II. T HE PATH - BASED SO-DTA M ODEL

We consider a general transportation network with multiple origin-destination (OD) ows. The whole study horizon

Td is discretized into N intervals of length . We assume that

Td is long enough for all the trafc ows to clear the network.

The goal of the model is to nd the optimal departure time

choice and route choice path ow pattern such that the total

system travel cost, including travel time cost and schedule

delay cost, is minimized.

The following notations are used throughout this paper:

a) Set notations

RS

set of OD pairs

set of routes connecting OD pair rs

P rs

the whole departure time horizon, Td =

Td

{1, 2, ..., N }

1298

b) Indices

rs

OD pair, rs RS

p

route between OD pair rs, p P rs

t

index for departure time, t Td

c) Variables to be determined

rs

ow entering route p P rs at time t

fpt

rs

f

path ow vector,

f = {fpt } with dimension n = N rsRS |P rs |

d) Functions of path ow f

crs

pt (f ) actual path travel time for ow entering

path p P rs at time t, which is a unique

mapping with respect to f

(f

)

generalized cost incurred by travelers enrs

pt

tering path p P rs at time t, which is a

unique mapping with respect to f

qtrs

demand between OD pair rs at time t

e) Parameters given

Qrs

cs (t)

ts

s

s

s

study horizon

schedule delay cost for travelers arriving

at destination at time t

desired arrival time for travelers going to

destination s, ts Td

arrival time exibility for travelers going

to destination s, s 0

cost of one unit of travel time for travelers,

>0

unit cost of schedule delay caused by the

early arrival of travelers at destination s,

s > 0

unit cost of schedule delay caused by the

late arrival of travelers at destination s,

s > 0.

of PMC below explicitly.

rs

Denition 1 (Path marginal cost P M Cpt

(f )): Given a

rs

specic path ow pattern f = {fpt , p, t, rs}, the path

marginal cost for path p at time t represents the increase in

the total system cost when the path inow on p is increased

by one unit. Namely,

T C(f )

rs

P M Cpt

(f ) =

=

rs

fpt

used to reect the difference of value-of-time among travelers associated with different destinations. According to

empirical data, > > , and we have the following

relationship:

rs

s

rs

rs

pt (f ) = cpt (f ) + c [t + cpt (f )]

if t < ts s

if ts s t ts + s

if t > ts + s

(2)

Using the dened path variables and functions, the SODTA problem optimizing both departure time and route

choices can be formulated as the following minimization

problem :

rs

fpt

rs

(3)

min T C(f ) =

pt (f )

f

subject to

rs

fpt

= qtrs , rs RS, t Td

tTd

rs

fpt

(5)

0, rs RS, k Krs , t Td

(6)

rst-order necessary conditions of optimality are constraints

,u)

rs L(f ,u)

= 0, r, s, p, t and L(f

0.

(4) - (6) plus fpt

rs

rs

fpt

fpt

Namely,

rs

fpt

T C(f )

rs

rs

fpt

= 0, rs RS, p P rs , t Td

(7)

T C(f )

rs 0, rs RS, p P rs , t Td

rs

fpt

rs

fpt

Qrs = 0, rs RS

tTd pP rs

rs

0, rs

fpt

RS, k Krs , t Td

rs rs

fp

p (f )

(11)

In the static case, the PMC is the sum of the link marginal

cost(LMC). In the dynamic case, the PMC evaluation is

much more complicated since path ows are not assigned

to links on the path simultaneously. However, for trafc

dynamics models which do not consider link interactions,

such as the point queue model, the exit ow function,

the link performance function and so on, a decomposition

scheme from path marginal cost to link marginal cost is

still possible. To illustrate this, we further introduce the

following additional notations:

Link variables and functions

ow entering link a at time t

uat

ua

link inow vector, ua = {uat , t Td }

link travel time for ow entering link a at time t

cat

ust

ow arriving at destination s at time t

(4)

pP rs

Td rsRS pRS

rs

fpt

tTd rsRS pP rs

principle in terms of time-dependent path marginal cost, i.e.,

at dynamic system optimum, the time-dependent marginal

cost on all the paths actually used are equal and less than the

marginal cost on any unused path. Consequently, if we can

rs

efciently evaluate path marginal cost P M Cpt

, r, s, p, t,

algorithms for solving equilibrium problems may be applied

to solve this SO-DTA problem, at least approximately1 .

(1)

s s

[(t s ) t]

s

0

c (t) =

s

[t (ts + s )]

For dynamic trafc models not considering link interactions, cat is uniquely determined by the inow pattern ua

on link a. Hence, we can treat cat as a function of ua ,

i.e., cat = cat (ua ). Then the total travel cost T C(f ) can

be written as follows:

uat cat (ua ) +

ust cs (t) (12)

T C(f ) =

tTd aA

tTd sS

Substituting (12) into (11) and using the chain rule, the

following relationship can be easily derived:

rs

(f ) =

LM Cak (ua )Indak

P M Cpt

ptrs (f )

aA kTd

(8)

cs (k)Indsk

ptrs (f )

(13)

sS kTd

(9)

(10)

1 Note that the solution based on this method may only be approximate

since the KKT conditions may not be totally sufcient due to the non-closed

form of rs

pt (f ) in the objective function.

1299

ptrs (f ) are link marginal

costs and path ow perturbation propagation index, whose

denitions are provided below.

Denition 2 (Link marginal cost): Given a specic link

inow pattern ua = {uat , t Td } for link a, the link

marginal cost for link a at time t represents the change in

the total link cost when the link inow at time t is increased

by one unit. Namely

LM Cat (ua ) :=

Td

ua ca (ua )

, a A, t Td

uat

(14)

Given a specic path ow pattern f and the corresponding

link inow pattern u. the path ow perturbation propagation

index Indak

ptrs (f ) represents the change in the inow of link

a at time k when the path ow at time t is increased by

one unit. Namely,

Indak

ptrs (f )

uak

rs

fpt

(15)

According to (13), PMCs for trafc models not considering link interactions can still be regarded as additive as long

as path ow perturbation propagations are correctly captured.

Ghali & Smith (1995) [6] provides a sound analytical

formulation for LMCs based on the link cumulative curves

for the point queue model. It is shown that the link marginal

cost is equal to the time difference between the time when

the vehicle enters the link and the earliest time after that

when the queue on the link vanishes. We utilize this LMC

evaluation method in our discussion.

The problem of evaluating the path ow perturbation

propagation seems to be neglected in most existing pathbased SO-DTA studies. Most researchers (e.g., Ghali &

Smith 1995 [6], Peeta 1994 [7], etc. ) simply assume that

the path ow perturbation travels along the path at the same

speed as that of the additional ow unit. In other words, if

we denote za (t) as the entering time at link a for a vehicle

departing from the origin at time t and following path p,

then

1 if a p and k = za (t)

(16)

Indak

=

ptrs

0 otherwise

Based on this assumption on path ow perturbation propagations, PMCs in the dynamic case are additive according

to link traversal times (we assume that a path p consists of

a series of links a1 , a2 , . . . , am ). Namely,

rs

(f ) =

P M Cpt

m

(17)

i=1

referred to as the link traversal time (LTT) method hereafter.

Unfortunately, as we shall see in the following discussion,

this assumption on path ow perturbation propagation is

actually NOT true due to link bottleneck restrictions. We

[0, T]

q

c1

t 1f

t 2f

2

link 1

c2

3

link 2

q > c1 >c2

Fig. 1.

network involving two sequential links how the path ow

perturbation propagates along the path.

The illustration network in Fig. 1 contains two links 1

and 2 and each link has a bottleneck at its downstream end.

The capacities of the bottlenecks at link 1 and link 2 are c1

and c2 , respectively, and free ow travel times of link 1 and

link 2 are t1f and t2f . During time [0, T ], vehicles enter the

network from link 1 at a constant ow rate q. We assume

that q > c1 > c2 . Obviously, queues will develop at both of

the bottlenecks. The cumulative curves for these two links

are illustrated in Fig. 2, where t1e and t2e represent the times

that the queues on link 1 and link 2 vanish, and N is the

total number of vehicles released in [0, T ].

According to the cumulative curves in Fig. 2, the vehicle

entering link 1 at time t1 [0, Td ] will enter link 2 at time

t2 . Suppose we want to evaluate P M Ct1 (f ). To simplied

the discussion, no schedule delay cost is considered.

Based on the denition, P M Ct1 (f ) can be evaluated by

constructing the new cumulative curves for link 1 and 2 with

an additional ow unit entering link 1 at time t1 (Fig. 2).

Fig. 2 shows that the additional costs incurred in link 1 and

link 2 by the additional unit path ow are t1e t1 and t2e t2 ,

respectively. Hence,

P M Ct1 (f ) = LM C1,t1 (f ) + LM C2,t1e (f )

= (t1e t1 ) + (t2e t1e )

= t2e t1

(18)

in link 1 and link as link marginal cost LM C1,t1 (u1 ) and

LM C2,t2 (u2 ) ( Fig. 3). Namely,

P M Ct1 (f ) =

t1e t1 + t2e t2

>

P M Ct1 (f )

(19)

LM C2,t2 (u2 ) by (t1e t2 ). In other words, the LTT method

tends to overestimate the PMC for two sequential links in this

simple network. The reason of the overestimation is that the

path ow perturbation actually travels more slowly than the

additional ow unit because of the link bottleneck capacity

restriction. More specically, the perturbation caused by an

additional unit ow entering link 1 at time t1 will not

propagate onto link 2 so long there is a queue present on

link 1. Namely,

1 if k = t1e

2k

(20)

Indptrs =

0 otherwise

1300

the additional unit vehicle

from the cumulative curves.

Consequently, the PMC can still be regarded as additive

except that we replace the original time zai (t) which is the

time that the additional ow unit reaches link ai by the time

dai (t) which is the actual time that the path ow perturbation

reaches link ai . For narrative convenience, we will refer

to this new PMC evaluation method as the perturbation

propagation time (PPT) method.

new cum. curves

the additional unit vehicle

1 unit vehicle

N

c1

c1

c2

1 unit vehicle

t1 t 1 T

t2

Fig. 2.

#

t 1e

t 1f

LMCa1 (t1 )

L MCa2 (t2 )

N

q

c1

c1

1 unit vehicle

Fig. 3.

t 2e

t2 t 2f + t1f t 1e

c2

1 unit vehicle

t1 t 1f T

t2

t 1e

t 1f

t2 t 2f + t1f t 1e

t 2e

In fact, this propagation rule is also applied to two sequential links in a merge. For more general networks involving

diverges, evaluating path ow perturbation propagation is

much complicated since the path ow perturbation will also

affects the inows of links not on the path as well.

In view of the deciency in the existing PMC evaluation

method, i.e., the problematic assumption on the path ow

perturbation propagation, we present a new path marginal

cost evaluation method for networks in mono-centric cities,

i.e., networks without diverges2 .

To evaluate PMCs, we need to keep track of the path ow

perturbation propagation among links. For networks without

a diverge, this is quite easy to achieve based on the dynamic

network loading results. If we denote dai (t) as the actual

time that the perturbation of the path ow departing at time

t reaches link ai , we have the following relationship:

1 if k = dai (t)

ai k

i = 1, . . . , m

(21)

Indptrs =

0 otherwise

Substituting (21) into (13), we get:

rs

P M Cpt

=

m

(22)

i=1

dai (t) can be derived by the following recursion relationships:

da1 (t)

dai (t)

ds (t)

= t

= wai1 [dai1 (t)], i = 2, . . . , m

= wam [dam (t)]

(23)

(24)

(25)

propagation lag hereafter, is the earliest time after t + cai (t)

2A

SO-DTA model into an equilibrium problem and solve it

using variational inequality methods. It is well know that

equilibrium conditions like the rst order optimality conditions of the path-based SO-DTA model can be transformed

into the following variational inequality (VI) problem:

rs

rs

rs

P M Cpt

(f )[fpt

fpt

] 0, f

tTd rsRS pP rs

(26)

where is a polyhedron dened by (9) and (10).

Ever since Friesz et al. [8] and Smith [9] proposed the VI

formulation of the predictive user equilibrium dynamic trafc

assignment problem, the solution algorithms to dynamic

equilibrium problems in transportation have been studied

extensively. Since the comparison of the performance of

different algorithms is beyond the scope of this paper, in

this study, we simply adopted the heuristic MSA algorithm

to solve this path marginal cost equilibrium problem.

We describe the complete steps of the MSA algorithm

for solving the path-based SO-DTA problem in networks in

mono-centric cities as follows:

MSA algorithm for solving the path-based SO-DTA model:

Step 0. Select an initial path ow pattern f0 and set k = 0.

Step 1. Load f k into the network.

Step 2. For all rs RS, search for the time-dependent

path [p , t ] with the least marginal cost, i.e., [p , t ] =

rs

(f ).

argminpP rs ,tTd P M Cpt

Step 3. Obtain the auxiliary path ow pattern g(f k ) by

assigning all the demands Qrs , rs RS onto [p , t ];

Step 4. Set = 1/k and update the solution by setting

f k+1 = (1 )f k + g(f k );

Step 5. Check if ||f k+1 f k ||/||f k || < (a predetermined

parameter). If yes, stop; otherwise, set k = k + 1 and return

to step 1.

B. Algorithm for time-dependent least marginal cost path

searching

The only unresolved part of the above heuristic MSA

algorithm is to search for the time-dependent least marginal

cost path. Our time-dependent least marginal cost path

searching algorithm is designed based on the DOT algorithm

by Chabini (1998) [10] for time-dependent minimal cost path

1301

TABLE I

N ETWORK CHARACTERISTICS IN ALL THE SCENARIOS

tf : MIN , s: VEH / HR

minimal computational complexity among all the existing

TDMCP algorithms.

If we denote Di (t), i N as the label for node i at time t,

i.e., the temporal minimal cost, pi (t) as the pointer denoting

the predecessor link on the temporal time-dependent shortest

path, and cij (t) as the time-dependent cost for link (ij) at

time t, the DOT algorithm for time-dependent minimal cost

path searching can be described as follows:

Scenario I

route 1

route 2

no bottleneck,

bottleneck I:

tf = 60

tf = 12,

s = 1500

Scenario II

route 1

route 2

no bottleneck,

bottleneck I:

bottleneck II:

tf = 60

tf = 6,

tf = 12,

s = 2000;

s = 1500

route 1

route 2

no bottleneck,

bottleneck I:

bottleneck II:

bottleneck III:

tf

tf

tf

tf

= 60

= 4.8,

= 8.4,

= 12,

s = 2000;

s = 1800;

s = 1500

Scenario III

Departure rate(veh/interval)

Step 0: Initialization: set Di (t) = , i = s and Ds (t) =

0, t < N . Set ps (t) := 0, t.

Step 1: Set Di (N ) := the static shortest path tree rooted at

s with all costs dened by cij (N ). Furthermore, note that

Di (t) = Di (N ), t N .

Step 2: For t = N 1 down to 0:

for (i, j) A

if Di (t) > cij (t) + Dj (t + ij (t))

Di (t) := cij (t) + Dj [t + ij (t)];

pj [t + ij (t)] := [i, t];

endif

endfor

In our case, the path marginal cost is actually not additive

according to link traversal times but according to path ow

perturbation propagation times along the path. Hence, t +

ij (t) in the original algorithm should be replaced by wij (t)

to represent the correct path ow perturbation propagation

relationships in a compacted time-space expansion network.

After this revision, the DOT algorithm can be applied to

search for the time-dependent least marginal cost path.

14

12

10

8

scenario I

scenario II

scenario III

analytical solution

4

2

scenario II

scenario I

Analytical solution

0

0

20

40

60

80

Assignment interval (30s)

100

120

(a) Route 1

30

Analytical solution

25

scenario III

20

scenario II

15

scenario I

scenario II

scenario III

analytical solution

10

5

0

0

20

scenario I

40

60

80

Assignment interval (30s)

100

120

(b) Route 2

V. N UMERICAL RESULTS

Fig. 4.

how the proposed algorithm for path-based SO-DTA models

based on the PPT PMC evaluation method performs. For

comparison purpose, a similar solution procedure based on

the LTT PMC evaluation method is also implemented. All the

algorithms are coded in MS-VC++ and run on a WindowsXP PC (Intel Pentium M 1.60 GHz, 768 MB of RAM).

scenario III

or destination. A quick calculation reveals that the analytical

solutions for all the three scenarios are the same as follows:

A. Numerical example I

For [36min, 60min] :

To demonstrate how the prediction of path ow perturbation propagations affects the accuracy of the nal system

optimum solution, an example network with two routes in

parallel is constructed. To simplify the discussion, we only

focus on the system optimal route choice, and the timedependent departure rates are assumed to be given. The

free ow travel times of route 1 and route 2 are 60min

and 12min respectively. Vehicles depart from the origin at

a constant departure rate q = 3000veh/hr for one hour.

Route 1 does not have any bottlenecks. Three scenarios

which differ from each other in the number of bottlenecks

on route 2 are designed. The capacity characteristics of three

scenarios are summarized in Table I. We expect that the more

bottlenecks on a route, the more errors might be incurred by

the inaccurate prediction of path ow propagations.

We now apply both the PPT and LTT methods and combine

them with the heuristic MSA algorithm to solve the SO-DTA

problem. The numerical solutions of route choice patterns

based on these two methods, in comparison to the analytical

solution, are depicts in Fig. 4 and Fig. 5.

In scenario I, the numerical solutions based on both the

PPT and LTT methods are identical and very close to the

analytical solution. This is not a surprise because when there

is only 1 bottleneck on route 2, the PMCs are actually

LMCs and no path ow perturbation propagation indices are

required to obtain PMCs. In scenario II and III, the PPT

method can still achieve very good accuracy compared to the

analytical solution, while the numerical solutions based on

the LTT method show distinct deviations from the analytical

solution.

1302

d1 (t) = 0, d2 (t) = 3000veh/hr

perturbation propagation affects the accuracy of marginal

schedule delay at the destination.

14

12

scenario III

10

8

6

scenario II

Analytical solution

scenario I

scenario II

scenario III

analytical solution

4

2

VI. C ONCLUSIONS

scenario I

SO-DTA models. The most critical part in the solution

procedure, i.e., the evaluation of PMCs, is identied and

discussed thoroughly. A solution algorithm for path-based

SO-DTA models based on a new PMC evaluation method

is developed and tested on simple networks. Our limited

numerical examples indicate that the proposed heuristic

MSA algorithm based on the PPT PMC evaluation method

can generate numerical solutions very close to analytical

solutions, for both SO-DTA problems optimizing departure

time choices and route choices.

At present our proposed solution method can only be applied to networks without diverges and the embedded trafc

dynamics models are restricted to those not considering link

interactions. The relaxation of either aspects may bring in

additional challenges in predicting path ow perturbation

propagations and is worth further investigation.

0

0

20

40

60

80

Assignment interval (30s)

100

120

(a) Route 1

30

25

Analytical solution

scenario I

20

scenario II

15

scenario I

scenario II

scenario III

analytical solution

10

5

0

0

20

scenario III

40

60

80

Assignment interval (30s)

100

120

(b) Route 2

Fig. 5.

40

PPT

LTT

Analytical solution

35

30

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS

25

This research is supported in part by a grant from the National Science Foundation under the number CMS#9984239.

The views are those of the authors alone.

20

15

10

5

R EFERENCES

0

0

20

40

60

Assignment interval (30s)

Fig. 6.

B. Numerical example II

The second numerical example is designed to test whether

the heuristic MSA method based on the PPT PMC evaluation

method can generate an accurate system optimal departure

time choice pattern. The testing network contains only 1 link

and we aim at deriving the system optimal departure time

choice pattern. The link free ow travel time is tf = 10min,

and there is a bottleneck with capacity s = 1800veh/hr at the

downstream end of the link. The total demand is 1500veh.

The desired arrival time is t = 7 : 00am. The schedule delay

parameters are = 0, = 1, = 0.8, = 1.2. It is easy to

derive the analytical SO solution for this problem as follows:

Earliest departure time ts

Latest departure time te

Departure rate a(t) during [ts , te ]

= 6 : 20am

= 7 : 10am

= s = 1800veh/hr

for the dynamic trafc assignment problems, Trans. Sci., vol. 12(3),

1978, pp 183-199.

[2] Carey, M., Optimal time-varying ows on congested networks, Oper.

Res., vol. 35(1), 1987, pp 58-69.

[3] Wie, B.-W., A convex control model of dynamic system-optimal

trafc assignment, Contr. Engr. Prac., vol. 6, 1998, pp 745-753.

[4] Ziliaskopoulos, A.K., A linear programming model for the single

destination system optimum dynamic trafc assignment problem,

Trans. Sci., vol. 34(1), 2000, pp 37-49.

[5] Wardrop, J.G., Some theoretical aspects of road trafc research, In

Proceedings of the Institute of Civil Engr., II, vol. 1, 1952, pp 325-378.

[6] Ghali, M. O. and Smith, M. J., A model for the dynamic system

optimum trafc assignment problem, Trans. Res., B, vol. 29(3), 1995,

pp 155-170.

[7] Peeta, S., System optimal dynamic trafc assignment in congested

networks with advanced information systems, Ph.D. thesis, The

university of Texas at Austin, 1994.

[8] Friesz, T.L. and Bernstein, D. and Smith, T.E. and Tobin, R.L. and

Wie, B.W., A variational inequality formulation of the dynamic

network user equilibrium problem, Oper. Res., vol. 41(1), 1993, pp

179-191.

[9] Smith, M.J., A new dynamic trafc model and the existence and calculation of dynamic user eqiubria on congested capacity-constrained

road networks, Trans. Res., B, vol. 26, 1993, pp 49-63.

[10] Chabini, I., Discrete dynamic shortest path problems in transportation

applications, Trans. Res. Rec., vol. 1645, 1998, pp 170-175.

patterns based on both methods in Fig. 6 (t = 0 corresponds to

the time 6:00 am), in comparison with the analytical solution.

As we can see from the results, the heuristic MSA

algorithm based on the PPT method still can converge to

the analytical solution while the same algorithm based on

the LTT method cannot. This is understandable because

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