Genericity of chaotic behavior

School of Mathematics Colloquium
Thursday, September 27, 2012 - 11:00am
1 hour (actually 50 minutes)
Skiles 006
Penn State
It is well-known that a deterministic dynamical system can exhibit stochastic behavior that is due to the fact that instability along typical trajectories of the system drives orbits apart, while compactness of the phase space forces them back together. The consequent unending dispersal and return of nearby trajectories is one of the hallmarks of chaos. The hyperbolic theory of dynamical systems provides a mathematical foundation for the paradigm that is widely known as "deterministic chaos" -- the appearance of irregular chaotic motions in purely deterministic dynamical systems. This phenomenon is considered as one of the most fundamental discoveries in the theory of dynamical systems in the second part of the last century. The hyperbolic behavior can be interpreted in various ways and the weakest one is associated with dynamical systems with non-zero Lyapunov exponents. I will discuss the still-open problem of whether dynamical systems with non-zero Lyapunov exponents are typical. I will outline some recent results in this direction. The genericity problem is closely related to two other important problems in dynamics on whether systems with nonzero Lyapunov exponents exist on any phase space and whether nonzero exponents can coexist with zero exponents in a robust way.