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A Probabilistic Scheme for Semilinear Nonlocal Diffusion Equations with Volume Constraints

by Minglei Yang, Diego B Del-castillo-negrete, Guannan Zhang, Yanzhao Cao
Publication Type
Journal Name
SIAM Journal on Numerical Analysis
Publication Date
Page Numbers
2718 to 2743

This work presents a probabilistic scheme for solving semilinear nonlocal diffusion equations with volume constraints and integrable kernels. The nonlocal model of interest is defined by a time-dependent semilinear partial integro-differential equation (PIDE), in which the integro-differential operator consists of both local convection-diffusion and nonlocal diffusion operators. Our numerical scheme is based on the direct approximation of the nonlinear Feynman–Kac formula that establishes a link between nonlinear PIDEs and stochastic differential equations. The exploitation of the Feynman–Kac representation avoids solving dense linear systems arising from nonlocal operators. Compared with existing stochastic approaches, our method can achieve first-order convergence after balancing the temporal and spatial discretization errors, which is a significant improvement of existing probabilistic/stochastic methods for nonlocal diffusion problems. Error analysis of our numerical scheme is established. The effectiveness of our approach is shown in two numerical examples. The first example considers a three-dimensional nonlocal diffusion equation to numerically verify the error analysis results. The second example presents a physics problem motivated by the study of heat transport in magnetically confined fusion plasmas.