C. Wulff and C. Evans.

Runge-Kutta time semidiscretizations of semilinear PDEs with non-smooth data

We study semilinear evolution equations $\partial_tU=AU+B(U)$ posed on a Hilbert space $\kY$, where $A$ is normal and generates a strongly continuous semigroup, $B$ is a smooth nonlinearity from $\kY_\ell = D(A^\ell)$ to itself, and $\ell \in I \subseteq [0,L]$, $L \geq 0$, $0,L \in I$. In particular the semilinear wave equation and nonlinear Schr\"odinger equation with periodic, Neumann and Dirichlet boundary conditions fit into this framework. We discretize the evolution equation with an A-stable Runge-Kutta method in time, retaining continuous space, and prove convergence of order $O(h^{p\ell/(p+1)})$ for non-smooth data $U^0\in \kY_\ell$, $0\leq\ell\leq p+1$, for a method of classical order $p$, extending a result by Brenner and Thom\'ee for linear sytems. Our approach is to project the semiflow and numerical method to spectral Galerkin approximations, and to balance the projection error with the error of the time discretization of the projected system. Numerical experiments suggest that our estimates are sharp.