Vol. 7, No. 5, 2014

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ISSN: 1948-206X (e-only)
ISSN: 2157-5045 (print)
Well-posedness of Lagrangian flows and continuity equations in metric measure spaces

Luigi Ambrosio and Dario Trevisan

Vol. 7 (2014), No. 5, 1179–1234

We establish, in a rather general setting, an analogue of DiPerna–Lions theory on well-posedness of flows of ODEs associated to Sobolev vector fields. Key results are a well-posedness result for the continuity equation associated to suitably defined Sobolev vector fields, via a commutator estimate, and an abstract superposition principle in (possibly extended) metric measure spaces, via an embedding into .

When specialized to the setting of Euclidean or infinite-dimensional (e.g., Gaussian) spaces, large parts of previously known results are recovered at once. Moreover, the class of RCD(K,) metric measure spaces, introduced by Ambrosio, Gigli and Savaré [Duke Math. J. 163:7 (2014) 1405–1490] and the object of extensive recent research, fits into our framework. Therefore we provide, for the first time, well-posedness results for ODEs under low regularity assumptions on the velocity and in a nonsmooth context.

continuity equation, flows, DiPerna–Lions theory, $\Gamma$-calculus
Mathematical Subject Classification 2010
Primary: 49J52
Secondary: 35K90
Received: 19 February 2014
Accepted: 12 July 2014
Published: 27 September 2014
Luigi Ambrosio
Classe di Scienze
Scuola Normale Superiore
I-56126 Pisa
Dario Trevisan
Classe di Scienze
Scuola Normale Superiore
I-56126 Pisa