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I am looking for references (or ways to find references) on significant and/or recent applications of techniques in number theory to problems in the areas of dynamical systems and nonlinear dynamics. While there may be overlap with arithmetic dynamics (see, for instance Current Trends and Open Problems in Arithmetic Dynamics by Benedetto, DeMarco, Ingram, Jones, Manes, Silverman & Tucker), I would like examples leaning more towards traditional dynamical systems.

Note that Lagarias writes in The Unreasonable Effectiveness of Number Theory, Proceedings of Symposia in Applied Mathematics, Volume 46, 1992, American Mathematical Society in the chapter Number Theory and Dynamical Systems:

Number theoretic problems have occurred repeatedly in dynamical systems. This initially seems surprising, since number theory deals with discrete objects.

A citation search using this reference was unrewarding. Other nonrecent papers which might yield a successful citation search would be welcome. Also, useful search terms would be appreciated.

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    $\begingroup$ KAM theory must be a major part of an answer here. These are questions about perturbation of Hamiltonian systems and persistence of periodic orbits that have nothing on the face of it to do with number theory. It emerges that Diophantine approximation of rotation numbers plays a key role in the theory. $\endgroup$ – Anthony Quas Aug 26 at 18:14
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    $\begingroup$ You could also look at subsequence ergodic theorems: you make measurements of an observable defined on a measure-preserving transformation at times $n^2$ or $p_n$ (the $n$th prime) and ask about convergence similar to Birkhoff's or von Neumann's ergodic theorems. This is maybe weaker as an example because one is starting here with a number-theoretic question about dynamical systems, rather than having the number theory arise naturally. $\endgroup$ – Anthony Quas Aug 26 at 18:17
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    $\begingroup$ The dynamical degree of a rational map $f:\mathbb C\mathbb P^N\to\mathbb C\mathbb P^N$ is the quantity $\delta(f):=\lim_{n\to\infty} (\deg f^n)^{1/n}$. Sometimes $\log\delta(f)$ is called the algebraic entropy. It had been conjectured by Bellon and Vialet that $\delta(f)$ is always an algebraic number. A recent paper: A transcendental dynamical degree, Jason P. Bell, Jeffrey Diller, Mattias Jonsson, arxiv.org/abs/1907.00675 provides a counterexample. $\endgroup$ – Joe Silverman Aug 26 at 18:30
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    $\begingroup$ I just thought of another extremely nice example. Margulis; and later Parry and Pollicott used ideas from number theory (zeta functions, Tauberian theorems etc) to study the growth rate of the number of closed geodesics of m length up to $L$ in the geodesic flow on a compact surface of negative curvature. $\endgroup$ – Anthony Quas Aug 27 at 0:33
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    $\begingroup$ Furthermore, number-theoretic considerations arise naturally in discretizations of archetypal dynamical systems, see e.g. doi.org/10.1016/j.tcs.2014.08.002 $\endgroup$ – Steve Huntsman Sep 5 at 13:32
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From Wikipedia: "Number theory (or arithmetic or higher arithmetic in older usage) is a branch of pure mathematics devoted primarily to the study of the integers."

First see examples in the MO-Q "Where is number theory used in the rest of mathematics?"

I commented there, "Goldman in his book The Queen of Mathematics alludes to an article by Weinberg where the partition function of number theory is related to the states of a vibrating string."

The Dedekind eta function enters into the dynamics of modular flows and the Lorenz equations through knot theory. (It also has applications in statistical mechanics and string theory.) See refs to Ghys work on knots and dynamics in MO-Q "The Dedekind eta function in physics" and answers to the duplicate question on PhysicsOverflow.

With a more combinatorial flavor:

Solutions to the inviscid Burgers' the KdV, and the KP equations of hydrodynamics and to the general evolution equations for flow fields generated by tangent vectors are related to classic integer arrays. (Not so surprising since the iterated operators $(x^{m+1}d/dx)^n$ are related to classic integer arrays and combinatorics.)

The integers relate to solutions of the Burgers' equation through the combinatorics of the associahedra and its relations to compositional inversion through OEIS A133437 as sketched in the answer to MO-Q "Why is there a connection between enumerative geometry and nonlinear waves?"

A bivariate e.g.f. for the Eulerian numbers (A008292/A123125) with its associated quadratic ($sl_2$) infinigen provides a soliton solution of the 1-D KdV equation. (The Eulerians are rife with ($A_n$ and $B_n$) connnections to enumerative algebraic geometry, as discussed by Hirzebruch, Losev and Manin, Batryev and Blume, Cohen, et al.)

Lauren Williams in "Enumeration of totally positive Grassmann cells" develops a polynomial generating function $A_{k,n}(q)$ whose $q^d$ coefficient is the number A046802 of totally positive cells in $G^+(k,n)$ that have dimension $d$ and goes on to show that for the binomial transform $\hat{E}_{k,n}(q)=q^{k-n}\sum^n_{i=0} (-1)^i \binom{n}{i} A_{k,n-i}(q)$ that $\hat{E}_{k,n(}(1)=E_{k,n}$, the Eulerian numbers A008292, and $\hat{E}_{k,n}(0)=N_{k,n}$, the Narayana numbers A001263. She reiterates this in her presentation "The Positive Grassmannian (a mathematician's perspective)" and relates $G^+$ to soliton shallow-water-wave solutions of a KP equation, noting also the roles of $G^+$ in computing scattering amplitudes in string theory, a relation to free probability, and the occurrence of the Eulerians and Narayanaians in the BCFW recurrence and twistor string theory. (See links to Williams' papers in A046802.)

The refined Eulerian numbers A145271 arise in the series expansion for flow fields generated by exponentiation of tangent vectors.

The conservation equations associated to the Burgers' and KdV equations also have connections to classic integer sequences. See also "Set partitions and integrable hierarchies" by V.E. Adler.

See also some refs and comments on the relation of the cycle index polynomials for the symmetric group $S_n$ A036039 (refined Stirling polynomials of the first kind, related to the elementary Schur polynomials and Faber polynomials) to tau functions and integrable hierarchies (and zeta functions). The Faber polynomials A263916 are also related to integrable systems, evolution equations, and number theoretic relations.

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  • $\begingroup$ See also refs in last three comments in "The Dedekind eta function in physics" (link above) $\endgroup$ – Tom Copeland Aug 28 at 16:12
  • $\begingroup$ If string theory is encompassed by dynamical systems (?), then see my answer on pariah moonshine to the MO-Q "Where is number theory used in the rest of mathematics?" mathoverflow.net/questions/90700/… $\endgroup$ – Tom Copeland Aug 30 at 14:07
  • $\begingroup$ See also zeta functions at mathoverflow.net/questions/111770/… $\endgroup$ – Tom Copeland Sep 4 at 14:43
  • $\begingroup$ Related: Sanders and Wang, "Number theory and the symmetry classification of integrable systems" $\endgroup$ – Tom Copeland Sep 4 at 17:50

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