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A measure-theoretic approach to chaotic dynamical systems.

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The past few years have witnessed a growth in the study of the long-time behaviour of physical, biological and economic systems using measure-theoretic and probabilistic methods. In this dissertation we present a study of the evolution of dynamical systems that display various types of irregular behaviour for large times. Large systems, containing many elements, like e.g. bacteria populations or ensembles of gas particles, are very difficult to analyse and contain elements of uncertainty. Also, in general, it is not necessary to know the evolution of each bacteria or each gas particle. Therefore we replace the "pointwise" description of the evolution of the system with that of the evolution of suitable averages of the population like e.g. the gas or the bacteria spatial density. In particular cases, when the quantity in the evolution that we analyse has the probabilistic interpretation, say, the probability of finding the particle in certain state at certain time, we will be talking about the evolution of (probability) densities. We begin with the establishment of results for discrete time systems and this is later followed with analogous results for continuous time systems. We observe that in many cases the system has two important properties: at each step it is determined by a non-negative function (for example the spatial density or the probability density) and the overall quantity of the elements remains preserved. Because of these properties the most suitable framework to investigate such systems is the theory of Markov operators. We shall discuss three levels of "chaotic" behaviour that are known as ergodicity, mixing and exactness. They can be described as follows: ergodicity means that the only invariant sets are trivial, mixing means that for any set A the sequence of sets S-n(A) becomes, asymptotically, independent of any other set B, and exactness implies that if we start with any set of positive measure, then, after a long time the points of this set will spread and completely fill the state space. In this dissertation we describe an application of two operators related to the generating Markov operator to study and characterize the abovementioned properties of the evolution system. However, a system may also display regular behaviour. We refer to this as the asymptotic stability of the Markov operator generating this system and we provide some criteria characterizing this property. Finally, we demonstrate the use of the above theory by applying it to a system that is modeled by the linear Boltzmann equation.


Thesis (M.Sc.)-University of Natal, Durban, 2001.


Chaotic behaviour in systems., Differentiable dynamical systems., Markov operators., Theses--Mathematics.