Finite-time braiding exponents. Budišić, M. and Thiffeault, J. 25(8):087407.
Finite-time braiding exponents [link]Paper  doi  abstract   bibtex   
Topological entropy of a dynamical system is an upper bound for the sum of positive Lyapunov exponents; in practice, it is strongly indicative of the presence of mixing in a subset of the domain. Topological entropy can be computed by partition methods, by estimating the maximal growth rate of material lines or other material elements, or by counting the unstable periodic orbits of the flow. All these methods require detailed knowledge of the velocity field that is not always available, for example, when ocean flows are measured using a small number of floating sensors. We propose an alternative calculation, applicable to two-dimensional flows, that uses only a sparse set of flow trajectories as its input. To represent the sparse set of trajectories, we use braids, algebraic objects that record how trajectories exchange positions with respect to a projection axis. Material curves advected by the flow are represented as simplified loop coordinates. The exponential rate at which a braid stretches loops over a finite time interval is the Finite-Time Braiding Exponent (FTBE). We study FTBEs through numerical simulations of the Aref Blinking Vortex flow, as a representative of a general class of flows having a single invariant component with positive topological entropy. The FTBEs approach the value of the topological entropy from below as the length and number of trajectories is increased; we conjecture that this result holds for a general class of ergodic, mixing systems. Furthermore, FTBEs are computed robustly with respect to the numerical time step, details of braid representation, and choice of initial conditions. We find that, in the class of systems we describe, trajectories can be re-used to form different braids, which greatly reduces the amount of data needed to assess the complexity of the flow.
@article{Budisic2015,
  title = {Finite-time braiding exponents},
  volume = {25},
  issn = {1054-1500, 1089-7682},
  url = {http://arxiv.org/abs/1502.02162},
  doi = {10.1063/1.4927438},
  abstract = {Topological entropy of a dynamical system is an upper bound for the sum of positive Lyapunov exponents; in practice, it is strongly indicative of the presence of mixing in a subset of the domain. Topological entropy can be computed by partition methods, by estimating the maximal growth rate of material lines or other material elements, or by counting the unstable periodic orbits of the flow. All these methods require detailed knowledge of the velocity field that is not always available, for example, when ocean flows are measured using a small number of floating sensors. We propose an alternative calculation, applicable to two-dimensional flows, that uses only a sparse set of flow trajectories as its input. To represent the sparse set of trajectories, we use braids, algebraic objects that record how trajectories exchange positions with respect to a projection axis. Material curves advected by the flow are represented as simplified loop coordinates. The exponential rate at which a braid stretches loops over a finite time interval is the Finite-Time Braiding Exponent (FTBE). We study FTBEs through numerical simulations of the Aref Blinking Vortex flow, as a representative of a general class of flows having a single invariant component with positive topological entropy. The FTBEs approach the value of the topological entropy from below as the length and number of trajectories is increased; we conjecture that this result holds for a general class of ergodic, mixing systems. Furthermore, FTBEs are computed robustly with respect to the numerical time step, details of braid representation, and choice of initial conditions. We find that, in the class of systems we describe, trajectories can be re-used to form different braids, which greatly reduces the amount of data needed to assess the complexity of the flow.},
  timestamp = {2015-07-27T14:49:13Z},
  number = {8},
  journaltitle = {Chaos: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Nonlinear Science},
  author = {Budi\v{s}i{\'c}, Marko and Thiffeault, Jean-Luc},
  urldate = {2015-07-27},
  date = {2015-08-01},
  pages = {087407},
  keywords = {_tablet,Computer modeling,Entropy,Materials analysis,Mathematics - Dynamical Systems,Nonlinear Sciences - Chaotic Dynamics,Rotating flows,Trajectory models}
}
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