Integral equations with contrasting kernels

T. A. Burton, Northwest Research Institute, Port Angeles, WA, U.S.A.

E. J. Qualitative Theory of Diff. Equ., No. 2. (2008), pp. 1-22.

Communicated by Bo Zhang. Received on 2007-08-31
Appeared on 2008-01-07

Abstract: In this paper we study integral equations of the form $x(t)=a(t)-\int^t_0 C(t,s)x(s)ds$ with sharply contrasting kernels typified by $C^*(t,s)=\ln (e+(t-s))$ and $D^*(t,s)=[1+(t-s)]^{-1}$. The kernel assigns a weight to $x(s)$ and these kernels have exactly opposite effects of weighting. Each type is well represented in the literature. Our first project is to show that for $a\in L^2[0,\infty)$, then solutions are largely indistinguishable regardless of which kernel is used. This is a surprise and it leads us to study the essential differences. In fact, those differences become large as the magnitude of $a(t)$ increases.

The form of the kernel alone projects necessary conditions concerning the magnitude of $a(t)$ which could result in bounded solutions. Thus, the next project is to determine how close we can come to proving that the necessary conditions are also sufficient.

The third project is to show that solutions will be bounded for given conditions on $C$ regardless of whether $a$ is chosen large or small; this is important in real-world problems since we would like to have $a(t)$ as the sum of a bounded, but badly behaved function, and a large well behaved function.

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