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The formulations used center on Helmholtz weak forms which have been shown to be numerically robust and to afford additional sparsity in the resulting system of algebraic equations. Practical solution of these equations depends critically on the realization of an effective sparse matrix solver. Experience with several conjugate gradient-type methods is reported. The findings show that convergence rate (and even convergence in some cases) degrades significantly with increasing matrix rank and decreasing electrical loss for mesh spacings which adequately resolve the physical wavelengths of the electromagnetic wave propagation. However, with proper choice of algorithm and preconditioning, reliable convergence has been achieved for matrix ranks exceeding 2*10 5 on domains having sizeable volumes of electrically lossless regions. An automatic grid generation scheme for constructing meshes which consist of variable element sizes that conform to a predefined set of boundaries is discussed.