Differentiability estimates

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Given a fully nonlinear integro-differential equation $Iu=0$, uniformly elliptic with respect to certain class of operators, sometimes an interior $C^{1,\alpha}$ estimate holds for some $\alpha>0$ (typically very small). Assume $I0=0$. The $C^{1,\alpha}$ estimate is a result like the following.

Theorem. Let $u \in L^\infty(R^n) \cap C(\overline B_1)$ solve the equation \[Iu = 0 \ \ \text{in } B_1.\] Then $u \in C^{1,\alpha}(B_{1/2})$ and the following estimate holds \[ ||u||_{C^{1,\alpha}(B_{1/2})} \leq C ||u||_{L^\infty}. \]

A theorem as above is known to hold under some assumptions on the nonlocal operator $I$. A list of valid assumptions is provided below.

Note that the result is stated for general fully nonlinear integro-differential equations, but the most important cases to apply it are the Isaacs equation and Bellman equation.

Idea of the proof

The idea to prove a $C^{1,\alpha}$ estimate is to apply Holder estimates to the derivatives of the solutions $u$. The directional derivatives $u_e$ satisfy the two inequalities \[ M^+_{\mathcal L} u_e \geq 0 \text{ and } M^-_{\mathcal L} u_e \leq 0 \] where $M^\pm_{\mathcal L}$ are the extremal operators with respect to the corresponding class of operators $\mathcal L$. If the Holder estimates apply to this class of operators, one would expect that $u_e \in C^\alpha$ for any vector $e$, and therefore $u \in C^{1,\alpha}$.

There is a technical problem with the idea above. The Holder estimates indicate that $u_e$ is $C^\alpha$ in some $B_{1/2}$ provided that $u_e$ is already known to be bounded in $L^\infty(\R^n)$. In order to obtain the estimate starting from $u \in L^\infty(\R^n)$, one applies the Holder estimates successively to gain regularity at every step and then prove iteratively that $u \in C^\alpha \Rightarrow u \in C^{2\alpha} \Rightarrow u \in C^{3\alpha} \Rightarrow \dots \Rightarrow u \in C^{1,\alpha}$. The last step in the iteration illustrates the difficulty. Imagine that we have already proved that $u$ is Lipschitz in $B_{3/4}$, so we know that $u_e \in L^\infty(B_{3/4})$ for any vector $e$. This is not enough to apply the Holder estimates to $u_e$ since we would need $u_e \in L^\infty(\R^n)$.

The first solution to this difficulty is to add an extra smoothness assumption to the family of kernels that allows to integrate by parts the tails in the integral representation of each linear operator $L u_e$ in the class $\mathcal L$ and write its tail as an integral in terms of $u$. A solution to this difficulty which removed the smoothness assumption on the kernels is given in Cite error: Closing </ref> missing for <ref> tag [1] }}

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