Fully nonlinear integro-differential equations

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Fully nonlinear integro-differential equations are a nonlocal version of fully nonlinear elliptic equations of the form $F(D^2 u, Du, u, x)=0$. The main examples are the integro-differential Bellman equation from optimal control, and the Isaacs equation from stochastic games.

A general definition of ellipticity can be given that does not require a specific form of the equation. However, the main two applications are the two above.

Definition

Given a family of linear integro-differential operators $\mathcal{L}$, we define the extremal operators $M^+_\mathcal{L}$ and $M^-_\mathcal{L}$: \begin{align*} M^+_\mathcal{L} u(x) &= \sup_{L \in \mathcal{L}} \, L u(x) \\ M^-_\mathcal{L} u(x) &= \inf_{L \in \mathcal{L}} \, L u(x) \end{align*}

We define a nonlinear operator $I$ to be elliptic in a domain $\Omega$ with respect to the class $\mathcal{L}$ if it assigns a continuous function $Iu$ to every function $u \in L^\infty(\R^n) \cap C^2(\Omega)$, and moreover for any two such functions $u$ and $v$: \[M^-_\mathcal{L} [u-v](x)\leq Iu(x) - Iv(x) \leq M^+_\mathcal{L} [u-v] (x), \] for any $x \in \Omega$.

A fully nonlinear elliptic equation with respect to $\mathcal{L}$ is an equation of the form $Iu=0$ in $\Omega$ with $I$ uniformly elliptic respect to $\mathcal{L}$.

Examples

The two main examples are the following.

\[ \sup_{a \in \mathcal{A}} \, L_a u(x) = f(x), \] where $L_a$ is some family of linear integro-differential operators indexed by an arbitrary set $\mathcal{A}$.

The equation appears naturally in problems of stochastic control with Levy processes.

The equation is uniformly elliptic with respect to any class $\mathcal{L}$ that contains all the operators $L_a$.

\[ \sup_{a \in \mathcal{A}} \ \inf_{b \in \mathcal{B}} \ L_{ab} u(x) = f(x), \] where $L_{ab}$ is some family of linear integro-differential operators with two indices $a \in \mathcal A$ and $b \in \mathcal B$.

The equation appears naturally in zero sum stochastic games with Levy processes.

The equation is uniformly elliptic with respect to any class $\mathcal{L}$ that contains all the operators $L_{ab}$.

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