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In this study, a plasma display panel (PDP) cell is modeled in a two-dimensional cross-sectional region and plasma discharge characteristics are analyzed by numerical simulations based on the finite difference method developed here. An orthogonal curvilinear coordinate system is introduced to apply to the arbitrary PDP cell geometry for systematic computations. Wall voltage transfer curves derived through experiments and computation are compared in detail. They show good agreement. The effect of PDP cell geometry on the voltage margin and on ultraviolet (UV) photon production efficiency are also studied. Results show that the thickness of front dielectric layer has a marked effect on the voltage margin and UV photon production efficiency. Furthermore, the dielectric ribs prevent the crosstalk of discharge in two ways: they decrease a number of excited species leaking to adjacent PDP cells and decrease charge distribution on the dielectric surface near the cell boundaries.