A Cauchy problem in mathematics asks for the solution of a partial differential equation that satisfies certain conditions that are given on a hypersurface in the domain.[1] A Cauchy problem can be an initial value problem or a boundary value problem (for this case see also Cauchy boundary condition) or it can be either of them. It is named after Augustin Louis Cauchy.

Formal statementEdit

For a partial differential equation defined on Rn+1 and a smooth manifold SRn+1 of dimension n (S is called the Cauchy surface), the Cauchy problem consists of finding the unknown functions   of the differential equation with respect to the independent variables   that satisfies[2]


subject to the condition, for some value  ,


where   are given functions defined on the surface   (collectively known as the Cauchy data of the problem). The derivative of order zero means that the function itself is specified.

Cauchy–Kowalevski theoremEdit

The Cauchy–Kowalevski theorem states that If all the functions   are analytic in some neighborhood of the point  , and if all the functions   are analytic in some neighborhood of the point  , then the Cauchy problem has a unique analytic solution in some neighborhood of the point  .

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ Jacques Hadamard (1923), Lectures on Cauchy's Problem in Linear Partial Differential Equations, Dover Phoenix editions
  2. ^ Petrovskii, I. G. (1954). Lectures on partial differential equations. Interscience Publishers, Inc, Translated by A. Shenitzer, (Dover publications, 1991)

External linksEdit