TY - JOUR

T1 - Comparison of viscosity solutions of semilinear path-dependent PDEs

AU - Ren, Zhenjie

AU - Touzi, Nizar

AU - Zhang, Jianfeng

N1 - Publisher Copyright:
© 2020 Society for Industrial and Applied Mathematics.

PY - 2020

Y1 - 2020

N2 - This paper provides a probabilistic proof of the comparison result for viscosity solutions of path-dependent semilinear PDEs. We consider the notion of viscosity solutions introduced in [I. Ekren, et al., Ann. Probab., 42 (2014), pp. 204-236], which considers as test functions all those smooth processes which are tangent in mean. When restricted to the Markovian case, this definition induces a larger set of test functions and reduces to the notion of stochastic viscosity solutions analyzed in [E. Bayraktar and M. Sirbu, Proc. Amer. Math. Soc., 140 (2012), pp. 3645-3654; SIAM J. Control Optim., 51 (2013), pp. 4274-4294]. Our main result takes advantage of this enlargement of the test functions and provides an easier proof of comparison. This is most remarkable in the context of the linear path-dependent heat equation. As a key ingredient for our methodology, we introduce a notion of punctual differentiation, similar to the corresponding concept in the standard viscosity solutions [L. A. Caffarelli and X. Cabre, Amer. Math. Soc. Colloq. Publ., 43, AMS, Providence, RI, 1995], and we prove that semimartingales are almost everywhere punctually differentiable. This smoothness result can be viewed as the counterpart of the Aleksandroff smoothness result for convex functions. A similar comparison result was established earlier in [I. Ekren et al., Ann. Probab., 42 (2014), pp. 204-236]. The result of this paper is more general and, more importantly, the arguments that we develop do not rely on any representation of the solution.

AB - This paper provides a probabilistic proof of the comparison result for viscosity solutions of path-dependent semilinear PDEs. We consider the notion of viscosity solutions introduced in [I. Ekren, et al., Ann. Probab., 42 (2014), pp. 204-236], which considers as test functions all those smooth processes which are tangent in mean. When restricted to the Markovian case, this definition induces a larger set of test functions and reduces to the notion of stochastic viscosity solutions analyzed in [E. Bayraktar and M. Sirbu, Proc. Amer. Math. Soc., 140 (2012), pp. 3645-3654; SIAM J. Control Optim., 51 (2013), pp. 4274-4294]. Our main result takes advantage of this enlargement of the test functions and provides an easier proof of comparison. This is most remarkable in the context of the linear path-dependent heat equation. As a key ingredient for our methodology, we introduce a notion of punctual differentiation, similar to the corresponding concept in the standard viscosity solutions [L. A. Caffarelli and X. Cabre, Amer. Math. Soc. Colloq. Publ., 43, AMS, Providence, RI, 1995], and we prove that semimartingales are almost everywhere punctually differentiable. This smoothness result can be viewed as the counterpart of the Aleksandroff smoothness result for convex functions. A similar comparison result was established earlier in [I. Ekren et al., Ann. Probab., 42 (2014), pp. 204-236]. The result of this paper is more general and, more importantly, the arguments that we develop do not rely on any representation of the solution.

KW - Optimal stopping

KW - Path-dependent PDEs

KW - Stochastic control

KW - Viscosity solutions

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U2 - 10.1137/19M1239404

DO - 10.1137/19M1239404

M3 - Article

AN - SCOPUS:85079757824

SN - 0363-0129

VL - 58

SP - 277

EP - 302

JO - SIAM Journal on Control and Optimization

JF - SIAM Journal on Control and Optimization

IS - 1

ER -