Mihaila, B.,Cardenas, A.,Cooper, F.,Saxena, A.

We present a systematic approach for calculating higher- order derivatives of smooth functions on a uniform grid using Pade approximants. We illustrate our findings by deriving higher-order approximations using traditional second-order finite-difference formulas as our starting point. We employ these schemes to study the stability and dynamical properties of K (2,2) Rosenau-Hyman compactons including the collision of two compactons and resultant shock formation. Our approach uses a differencing scheme involving only nearest and next-to-nearest neighbors on a uniform spatial grid. The partial differential equation for the compactons involves first, second, and third partial derivatives in the spatial coordinate and we concentrate on four different fourth- order methods which differ in the possibility of increasing the degree of accuracy (or not) of one of the spatial derivatives to sixth order. A method designed to reduce round-off errors was found to be the most accurate approximation in stability studies of single solitary waves even though all derivates are accurate only to fourth order. Simulating compacton scattering requires the addition of fourth derivatives related to artificial viscosity. For those problems the different choices lead to different amounts of "spurious" radiation and we compare the virtues of the different choices.