[ PDF | arXiv:1001.1408 [math.NA] ]
(with J. Zhang)
We consider the continuous and discrete-time Hamilton's variational principle on phase space, and characterize the exact discrete Hamiltonian which provides an exact correspondence between discrete and continuous Hamiltonian mechanics. The variational characterization of the exact discrete Hamiltonian naturally leads to a class of generalized Galerkin Hamiltonian variational integrators, which include the symplectic partitioned Runge-Kutta methods. We also characterize the group invariance properties of discrete Hamiltonians which lead to a discrete Noether's theorem.