Gauss–Kuzmin–Wirsing operator

  (Redirected from Gauss–Kuzmin–Wirsing constant)

In mathematics, the Gauss–Kuzmin–Wirsing operator is the transfer operator of the Gauss map. It is named after Carl Gauss, Rodion Kuzmin, and Eduard Wirsing. It occurs in the study of continued fractions; it is also related to the Riemann zeta function.

Relationship to the maps and continued fractionsEdit

The Gauss mapEdit

File:Gauss function

The Gauss function (map) h is :



  •   denotes floor function

It has an infinite number of jump discontinuities at x = 1/n, for positive integers n. It is hard to approximate it by a single smooth polynomial.[1]

Operator on the mapsEdit

The Gauss–Kuzmin–Wirsing operator   acts on functions   as


Eigenvalues of the operatorEdit

The first eigenfunction of this operator is


which corresponds to an eigenvalue of λ1=1. This eigenfunction gives the probability of the occurrence of a given integer in a continued fraction expansion, and is known as the Gauss–Kuzmin distribution. This follows in part because the Gauss map acts as a truncating shift operator for the continued fractions: if


is the continued fraction representation of a number 0 < x < 1, then


Additional eigenvalues can be computed numerically; the next eigenvalue is λ2 = −0.3036630029... (sequence A038517 in the OEIS) and its absolute value is known as the Gauss–Kuzmin–Wirsing constant. Analytic forms for additional eigenfunctions are not known. It is not known if the eigenvalues are irrational.

Let us arrange the eigenvalues of the Gauss–Kuzmin–Wirsing operator according to an absolute value:


It was conjectured in 1995 by Philippe Flajolet and Brigitte Vallée that


In 2014, Giedrius Alkauskas proved this conjecture.[2] Moreover, the following asymptotic result holds:


here the function   is bounded, and   is the Riemann zeta function.

Continuous spectrumEdit

The eigenvalues form a discrete spectrum, when the operator is limited to act on functions on the unit interval of the real number line. More broadly, since the Gauss map is the shift operator on Baire space  , the GKW operator can also be viewed as an operator on the function space   (considered as a Banach space, with basis functions taken to be the indicator functions on the cylinders of the product topology). In the later case, it has a continuous spectrum, with eigenvalues in the unit disk   of the complex plane. That is, given the cylinder  , the operator G shifts it to the left:  . Taking   to be the indicator function which is 1 on the cylinder (when  ), and zero otherwise, one has that  . The series


then is an eigenfunction with eigenvalue  . That is, one has   whenever the summation converges: that is, when  .

A special case arises when one wishes to consider the Haar measure of the shift operator, that is, a function that is invariant under shifts. This is given by the Minkowski measure  . That is, one has that  .[3]

Relationship to the Riemann zeta functionEdit

The GKW operator is related to the Riemann zeta function. Note that the zeta function can be written as


which implies that


by change-of-variable.

Matrix elementsEdit

Consider the Taylor series expansions at x=1 for a function f(x) and  . That is, let


and write likewise for g(x). The expansion is made about x = 1 because the GKW operator is poorly behaved at x = 0. The expansion is made about 1-x so that we can keep x a positive number, 0 ≤ x ≤ 1. Then the GKW operator acts on the Taylor coefficients as


where the matrix elements of the GKW operator are given by


This operator is extremely well formed, and thus very numerically tractable. The Gauss–Kuzmin constant is easily computed to high precision by numerically diagonalizing the upper-left n by n portion. There is no known closed-form expression that diagonalizes this operator; that is, there are no closed-form expressions known for the eigenvectors.

Riemann zetaEdit

The Riemann zeta can be written as


where the   are given by the matrix elements above:


Performing the summations, one gets:


where   is the Euler–Mascheroni constant. These   play the analog of the Stieltjes constants, but for the falling factorial expansion. By writing


one gets: a0 = −0.0772156... and a1 = −0.00474863... and so on. The values get small quickly but are oscillatory. Some explicit sums on these values can be performed. They can be explicitly related to the Stieltjes constants by re-expressing the falling factorial as a polynomial with Stirling number coefficients, and then solving. More generally, the Riemann zeta can be re-expressed as an expansion in terms of Sheffer sequences of polynomials.

This expansion of the Riemann zeta is investigated in the following references.[4][5][6][7][8] The coefficients are decreasing as



  1. ^ A Graduate Introduction to Numerical Methods From the Viewpoint of Backward Error Analysis by Corless, Robert, Fillion, Nicolas
  2. ^ Alkauskas, Giedrius (2012). "Transfer operator for the Gauss' continued fraction map. I. Structure of the eigenvalues and trace formulas". arXiv:1210.4083 [math.NT].
  3. ^ Vepstas, Linas (2008). "On the Minkowski Measure". arXiv:0810.1265 [math.DS].
  4. ^ Yeremin, A. Yu.; Kaporin, I. E.; Kerimov, M. K. (1985). "The calculation of the Riemann zeta-function in the complex domain". USSR Comput. Math. And Math. Phys. 25 (2): 111–119. doi:10.1016/0041-5553(85)90116-8.
  5. ^ Yeremin, A. Yu.; Kaporin, I. E.; Kerimov, M. K. (1988). "Computation of the derivatives of the Riemann zeta-function in the complex domain". USSR Comput. Math. And Math. Phys. 28 (4): 115–124. doi:10.1016/0041-5553(88)90121-8.
  6. ^ Báez-Duarte, Luis (2003). "A new necessary and sufficient condition for the Riemann hypothesis". arXiv:math.NT/0307215.
  7. ^ Báez-Duarte, Luis (2005). "A sequential Riesz-like criterion for the Riemann hypothesis". International Journal of Mathematics and Mathematical Sciences. 2005 (21): 3527–3537. doi:10.1155/IJMMS.2005.3527.
  8. ^ Flajolet, Philippe; Vepstas, Linas (2006). "On Differences of Zeta Values". Journal of Computational and Applied Mathematics. 220 (1–2): 58–73. arXiv:math.CA/0611332. Bibcode:2008JCoAM.220...58F. doi:10.1016/

General referencesEdit

  • A. Ya. Khinchin, Continued Fractions, 1935, English translation University of Chicago Press, 1961 ISBN 0-486-69630-8 (See section 15).
  • K. I. Babenko, On a Problem of Gauss, Soviet Mathematical Doklady 19:136–140 (1978) MR472746
  • K. I. Babenko and S. P. Jur'ev, On the Discretization of a Problem of Gauss, Soviet Mathematical Doklady 19:731–735 (1978). MR499751
  • A. Durner, On a Theorem of Gauss–Kuzmin–Lévy. Arch. Math. 58, 251–256, (1992). MR1148200
  • A. J. MacLeod, High-Accuracy Numerical Values of the Gauss–Kuzmin Continued Fraction Problem. Computers Math. Appl. 26, 37–44, (1993).
  • E. Wirsing, On the Theorem of Gauss–Kuzmin–Lévy and a Frobenius-Type Theorem for Function Spaces. Acta Arith. 24, 507–528, (1974). MR337868

Further readingEdit

External linksEdit