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We present an efficient and accurate grid method for solving the time-dependent Schrödinger equation for an atomic system interacting with an intense laser pulse. Instead of the usual finite difference (FD) method, the radial coordinate is discretized using the discrete variable representation (DVR) constructed from Coulomb wave functions. For an accurate description of the ionization dynamics of atomic systems, the Coulomb wave function discrete variable representation (CWDVR) method needs three to ten times fewer grid points than the FD method. The resultant grid points of the CWDVR are distributed unevenly so that one has a finer grid near the origin and a coarser one at larger distances. The other important advantage of the CWDVR method is that it treats the Coulomb singularity accurately and gives a good representation of continuum wave functions. The time propagation of the wave function is implemented using the well-known Arnoldi method. As examples, the present method is applied to multiphoton ionization of both the H atom and the H- ion in intense laser fields. The short-time excitation and ionization dynamics of H by an abruptly introduced static electric field is also investigated. For a wide range of field parameters, ionization rates calculated using the present method are in excellent agreement with those from other accurate theoretical calculations.