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# Tutte seminar - Ron Mullin, distinguished professor emeritus

Friday, October 31, 2014 — 3:30 PM EDT

## A Set-Theoretic Approach to Fractional Iterates

Speaker: Ron Mullin, distinguished professor emeritus University of Waterloo Mathematics and Computer Building (MC) 5136B

### Abstract:

This talk relates to an early excursion of Bill Tutte into professional level mathematics. The connection will be explained in the talk.

Let f(x) be an invertible function defined on the real line, and let fn denote the function f composed with itself n times. By convention, f0(x)=x for all x. Clearly such iterates satisfy fm(fn)= fm+n for all natural numbers m,n.

This talk addresses the following two questions about the iterates of such functions.

(1) Functional square roots: Given f, does there exist f1/2 such that f1/2(f1/2) = f? This has been generalized to include other specific rational functional roots.

(2) Fractional Iterates (also called Flows).

Given f, does there exist a family of real functions Fr, for all real numbers r, such that, for all non-negative real numbers r,s, Fr(Fs)=Fr+s and, for all natural numbers n, Fn=fn.
This has been generalized to include the case of for all integers n and all real numbers r and s (Complete real roots.)

These questions date back to at least 1815 and have been investigated for both mathematical interest and their applications in connection with dynamical systems. Although they have been studied by many prominent mathematicians such as J. Hadamard, G.H. Hardy, J. Aczel and W.T. Tutte, the subject seems to have gained even more prominence with the study of fractals and chaos theory.

Let G be a group of cardinality c that contains the integers as a normal subgroup. A G-generalized set of iterates for f is a set of functions Fa, for each a in G, such that, for every a,b in G, Fa(Fb)=Fa+b and, for every integer n, Fn=fn.

In this talk it will be shown that such iterates exist for all such G if and only if f is invertible, in particular, there exists a set of complete real roots (and for that matter, complex roots) if and only if f is invertible.

The result is extended to give an answer to a question that Tutte posed.

Location
MC - Mathematics & Computer Building
5136B
200 University Avenue West

Waterloo, ON N2L 3G1

### August 2021

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