Research Article  Open Access
Zhiqiang Zhou, Xuemei Gao, "Laplace Transform Methods for a Free Boundary Problem of TimeFractional Partial Differential Equation System", Discrete Dynamics in Nature and Society, vol. 2017, Article ID 6917828, 9 pages, 2017. https://doi.org/10.1155/2017/6917828
Laplace Transform Methods for a Free Boundary Problem of TimeFractional Partial Differential Equation System
Abstract
We study the pricing of the American options with fractal transmission system under twostate regime switching models. This pricing problem can be formulated as a free boundary problem of timefractional partial differential equation (FPDE) system. Firstly, applying Laplace transform to the governing FPDEs with respect to the time variable results in secondorder ordinary differential equations (ODEs) with two free boundaries. Then, the solutions of ODEs are expressed in an explicit form. Consequently the early exercise boundaries and the values for the American option are recovered using the GaverStehfest formula. Numerical comparisons of the methods with the finite difference methods are carried out to verify the efficiency of the methods.
1. Introduction
Markov regime switching models were first introduced by Hamilton [1] and recently have become popular in financial applications including equity options [2–17], bond prices and interest rate derivatives [18–20], portfolio selection [21], and trading rules [22–26]. The Markov regime switching models allow the model parameters (drift and volatility coefficients) to depend on a Markov chain which can reflect the information of the market environments and at the same time preserve the simplicity of the models. However when the model parameters are governed by the Markov chain, the valuation of the options becomes complex.
American option pricing is a kind of classical free boundary problems, where the free boundary refers to early exercise boundary or optimal exercise boundary. Laplace transform methods have been developed to solve the free boundary problems arising in American option pricing under geometric Brownian motion (GBM) (see Mallier and Alobaidi [27], Zhu [28], and Zhu and Zhang [29]) and constant elasticity of variance (CEV) (see Wong and Zhao [30]). The essential idea of the Laplace transform methods for solving the American option pricing problems is described as follows. Applying Laplace transform to the governing free boundary partial differential equations (PDEs) with respect to the time variable results in a boundary value problem of secondorder ordinary differential equations (ODEs). Unlike the case for the European option pricing, the ODE involves an unknown boundary (in Laplace space) which needs to be solved. If the solution of the ODE with the unknown boundary can be expressed in an explicit form, then a nonlinear algebraic equation for the unknown boundary can be derived. Using a simple solver for the nonlinear algebraic equation, we can get the value of the unknown boundary in Laplace space. Consequently the early exercise boundary and the value for the American option can be achieved using the inverse Laplace transform.
Chen et al. [31] studied a predictorcorrector finite difference methods for pricing American options under the FMLS model which is a kind of spacefractional derivative model. Liang et al. [32] used Fourier transform to solve a bifractional BlackScholesMerton differential equation. In this paper, we study the pricing of American options with timefractional model which has essential difference to the spacefractional model. Following the model in [33], we assume that the underlying asset price still follows the classical Brownian motion, but the change in the option price is considered as a fractal transmission system. The price of such American option follows timefractional partial differential equations (PDEs) with free boundaries. The solution of the timefractional PDEs with two free boundaries is more challenging than solving the fractional PDEs with fixed boundary for European option pricing in [33] and much more complex than solving single BlackScholesMerton differential equation in [32].
In this paper, we develop the Laplace transform methods for pricing timefractional American options under regime switching models. The fundamental difference to the GBM and CEV American option pricing is that the governing free boundary PDEs for the regime switching American option pricing are a coupled system. Therefore the Laplace transform in time for the system of free boundary PDEs leads to a coupled system of ODEs whose analytic solutions take much trouble to the approach. A careful derivation in different cases makes the approach successful. Numerical examples are provided to verify the efficiency of the approach. The generated option value and early exercise boundary are compared with the finite difference method which are usually used as the benchmark methods in the area of option pricing.
2. Laplace Transform Methods for American Option Pricing
Let the underlying asset prices follow a twostate regime switching model under riskneutral measure:where is a standard Brownian motion and is a continuoustime Markov chain with two states . Assume that, at each state , the interest rates and volatility for are nonnegative constants. Letbe the generator matrix of the Markov chain process with . Let be the option expiration date, be the time to maturity, represent the American put option prices with stock price , and be the corresponding optimal exercise boundaries at time . Then the American put options satisfy the following system of PDEs with free boundaries, for :where are the differential operators defined byHowever, it is argued that the time derivative should be replaced by the fractional derivative under the assumption that the change in the option price follows a fractal transmission system (see, e.g., [32–34]). So, the timefractional American put options satisfy the following system of PDEs:with the free boundary conditions and the initial condition:where is defined as the Caputo fractional derivative for :Condition (10) is called “highcontact condition” or “smoothpasting condition.”
For , we define the LaplaceCarson transform (LCT) of the American put option price aswhich is essentially the Laplace transform (LT) asUsing the Laplace transform formula for the Caputo fractional derivative (see (2.253) in [35]),and the relationship (13), the LCT for is found asThe use of LCT simplifies notations in the later analysis and makes inverse Laplace solutions have a unique singularity . We note that for the case formula (15) is still true. Denoting and taking LCTs to (3)–(10), we obtain the following ODEs, for :The existence of Laplace transform and is guaranteed by the continuity and boundedness of and . To solve (16)–(20), we use the following variable and function transformations:Let . Then the calculations yield an equivalent form to (16)–(20) as follows:Compared to (16), the coefficients of the first and second derivatives in (22) become constant which will simplify the calculation. However, (22) includes two unknown variables and a nonsmooth term , which will make the solutions somewhat complicated.
From the definition of and monotone decreasing property of (see, e.g., [10]), we haveand thereforeMoreover and its firstorder derivative are continuous at ( means that ). Without loss of generality, we assume . So . The solutions of (22)–(26) can be solved separately on four intervals , and .
Proposition 1. The solutions of (22)–(26) on interval are given by
Proof. The proof is straightforward by noticing (23).
The solutions of ODEs on the other intervals can be written as a general solution to the corresponding homogeneous part plus a particular one satisfying the nonhomogeneous system. More precisely, we discuss the solutions on the different intervals as follows.
Proposition 2. On interval , the solutions of (22)–(26) are given byand constant is uniquely determined by the boundary conditions (25) and (26); that is,Here the unspecified notations are defined in (34)–(37) below.
Proof. For , the solution and then satisfies the following equation:By solving ODE (32), we get the general solutionwhere is a particular solution and and are the fundamental increasing and decreasing solutions with explicit forms:Note that and . Denotingand using (23), we complete the proof.
Now we derive the solutions of (22)–(26) on interval . Let withThen (22) is equivalent to the following firstorder ODE system:where
Lemma 3. For any real number , the homogeneous equation has real valued fundamental solutionswhere and are different negative real numbers, and are different positive real numbers, and are real valued column vectors.
Proof. It is wellknown that has fundamental solution matrix as (41), with and representing characteristic values and corresponding characteristic vectors. So we only need to prove all are real numbers and different from each other. The characteristic polynomial of (39) isTherefore,whereSince and , for any we know that all are real numbers and and . Moreover, we haveThen there must exist four real roots solving characteristic equation , and we can list the ranges of these values:Note that the roots can be searched by the secant method on their corresponding ranges as above.
Proposition 4. Let be a submatrix extracting the first and the third rows from . Then the solutions of (22)–(26) on interval are given bywhere is given by (41) and by (52) below.
Proof. It can be verified that (22) has a particular solutionHere, for . Denote . Then the solution to (39) can be written as Using the continuity and smoothingpasting of solutions at , we know that satisfiesSubstituting into the above equation and denotingwe obtain thatThus the proof is complete.
Proposition 5. Let be the submatrix extracting the first and the second columns from , where is given in Proposition 4. Then the solutions of (22)–(26) on interval are given bywith given by (56).
Proof. Since for , (22) becomes homogeneous. Furthermore using condition (see (24)), we can write the solution to the homogeneous part of (24) (or homogeneous part of (39)) aswhere is the submatrix containing the first and the second columns of and . Notations , and are , , and matrices, respectively. Since the firstorder derivative of is also continuous at , by evaluating the firstorder derivatives of (53) and (47) at , we obtain thatwhere and . Therefore, we obtain
Since is continuous at , by evaluating (53) and (47) at , we haveSubstituting (52) and (56) into (57) and simplifying the calculation, we obtain a system of nonlinear algebra equations with respect to and where constant matrices and are defined byWe summarize the above discussions in the following theorem.
Theorem 6. For any fixed , the optimal exercise boundaries and can be numerically computed from nonlinear equations (58) and the solutions of (22)–(26) are given by where , and are given by formulas (31), (52), and (56), respectively; the fundamental solution matrices , , and are defined in (37) and Propositions 4 and 5, respectively; the particular solutions and are given by (34) and (48), respectively.
Finally, the original optimal exercise boundaries and American put option prices can be expressed in terms of the Laplace inversion:
The numerical approximation for Laplace inversion can be computed using the most powerful GaverStehfest algorithm (see, e.g., [36])withhere must be taken as even number.
3. Numerical Examples
In this section, the Laplace transform method (LTM) is compared with the finite difference method (FDM). We use symbolic manipulation and multiprecision computing provided by Mathematica 9.0.
Table 1 lists the computational values of American put options under regime switching. Columns entitled “LTM" and “FDM” represent the option values obtained by Laplace transform method and finite different method, respectively. For the LTM the GaverStehfest formula is applied with the number and for the FDM the number of time nodes and the number of space nodes . The relative error (RE) is the absolute value of the difference between the computed LTM option values and the FDM values divided by the FDM option values. In the implementation of the LTM, the work precision is set by 30 significant digits, while the numerical values are presented with 5 significant digits.

The relative errors shown in Table 1 are less than for all the cases, which illustrates that the LTM is competitively accurate for solving American option pricing problems. Since there are no exact solutions of FPDEs, we cannot judge which one of the two results is more accurate. In general, the relative error less than five percent is acceptable in financial engineering practice.
From the last row of Table 1, we see that the CPU time of LTM is much less than that of FDM. The computational cost of LTM is uniform at every time and the CPU consumption mainly comes from solving nonlinear algebraic equations with two variables and (see expression (58)). FDM is a timestepping scheme which is needed to solve nonlinear systems at time or . Moreover, for the global dependence of the fractional differential operator, FDM needs to do some additional computation. We observe that the numbers of the quadrature nodes are much smaller than the numbers of time steps. In other words, to achieve the similar accuracy, there are much fewer nonlinear systems needed to be solved by the LTM than that by the FDM.
Figure 1 plots the early exercise boundaries obtained by LTM and FDM with the same values of parameters as in Table 1. It can be seen that the boundaries computed by FDM and LTM are pretty close. Again it shows that the LTM is robust in generating the early exercise boundaries.
(a)
(b)
4. Conclusions
In this paper, we have developed Laplace transform methods to solve the timefractional American option pricing under regime switching models. The value of the American option with regime switching is formulated as the solution to a free boundary problem of timefractional partial differential equation system. The Laplace transform is executed for the time variables and the resulting system PDEs are solved analytically. Consequently a system of nonlinear algebraic equations for the free boundaries is obtained and solved using secant methods. Finally numerical Laplace inversion is applied to recover the early exercise boundaries and the option values. Comparisons between the LTM and the benchmark FDM are made via numerical examples, which shows that the LTM is efficient for pricing American options with regime switching. However, the LTM is still challenging for more complex models like the regime switching models with statedependent jump diffusions. This will be left for the future studies.
Nomenclature of Notations
:  Stock price 
:  Interest rate 
:  Volatility 
:  Free boundary 
:  Strike price 
:  Generator matrix of the Markov chain process 
:  Order of the Caputo derivative 
:  Option price. 
Conflicts of Interest
The authors declare that there are no conflicts of interest regarding the publication of this paper.
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Copyright
Copyright © 2017 Zhiqiang Zhou and Xuemei Gao. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.