Entropy and Orbit Equivalence

Daniel J. Rudolph
Fri, Oct 1, 2004
University of Victoria, Victoria, Canada
PIMS Distinguished Chair Lectures

In these notes we first offer an overview of two core areas in the dynamics of probability measure preserving systems, the Kolmogorov-Sinai theory of entropy and the theory of orbit equivalence. Entropy is a nontrivial invariant that, said simply, measures the exponential growth rate of the number of orbits in a dynamical system, a very rough measure of the complexity of the orbit structure. On the other hand, the core theorem of the orbit theory of these systems, due to Henry Dye, says that any two free and ergodic systems are orbit equivalent, that is to say can be regarded as sitting on the same set of orbits. The goal we set out to reach now is to explain and understand the seeming conflict between these two notions.