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Surjective cellular automata with zero entropy are almost one-to-one
We show that any one-dimensional surjective cellular automata whose entropy is zero
with respect to the uniform Bernoulli measure must be almost one-to-one.

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Nonlinear Science, and Nonequilibrium and Complex Phenomena

journal homepage: www.elsevier.com/locate/chaos

T.K. Subrahmonian Moothathu

Department of Mathematics and Statistics, University of Hyderabad, Hyderabad 500 046, India

a r t i c l e

i n f o

Article history:

Received 20 May 2010

Accepted 20 January 2011

Available online 21 April 2011

a b s t r a c t

We show that any one-dimensional surjective cellular automata whose entropy is zero

with respect to the uniform Bernoulli measure must be almost one-to-one.

2011 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

1. Introduction

Entropy, a numerical invariant taking values in [0, 1], is

a very useful tool in measuring the complexity of dynamical systems. Zero entropy indicates lack of complexity and

non-zero entropy indicates complexity in the system. For

some important classes of dynamical systems, simple conditions implying zero or non-zero entropy are available.

For instance, a continuous interval map has zero entropy

iff the length of any periodic orbit is a power of two (Theorem 4.4.20 of [1]) and a toral automorphism has non-zero

entropy if none of its eigenvalues is unimodular (Theorem

5.3 of [8]).

Cellular automata form an intriguing class of dynamical

systems representable by elementary nitary rules, but

capable of complex behavior. We will be specically interested in one-dimensional cellular automata throughout. In

the literature (see for instance [2,5,9] and the references

therein), valuable information is available about the entropy

and the invariant measure of maximal entropy of certain restricted class of cellular automata (additive, permutive,

expansive, etc.). It is also known that the entropy of a onedimensional cellular automata is never 1 (c.f. [5]). But, to

the best of our knowledge, there does not seem to be any result answering the following question in a broad sense.

Question: which one-dimensional cellular automata

have positive entropy?

In this article, we contribute something towards

answering this question by proving an intuitively natural

result. Every surjective cellular automata F : AZ ! AZ is

known to preserve [10] the uniform Bernoulli measure l

on the Borel r-algebra of AZ . As our main result, we show

E-mail address: tksubru@gmail.com

0960-0779/$ - see front matter 2011 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

doi:10.1016/j.chaos.2011.01.013

that if the measure-theoretic entropy hl(F) = 0 for a surjective cellular automata F, then F must be almost one-to-one

(Theorem 1). Our proof has three ingredients. First we

show that surjective F cannot take l-null sets to sets having positive l-measure. Secondly, we use a classic result of

GleasonWelchHedlund saying that if F is not almost oneto-one, then for some integer p P 2, F is almost p-to-one.

Thirdly, we bring in the measure-theoretic fact that if

hl(F) = 0, then F must be injective on a large portion of

its domain.

As a corollary, we obtain (compare Theorem 2 of [5])

that every non-injective, additive, surjective cellular automata has positive entropy.

2. Cellular automata

Let (A, q) be a nite discrete metric space with jAj P 2

and let AZ fx xi i2Z : xi 2 Ag. Here, A is called the alphabet and any element of An (n 2 N) is called a word of length

n over A. The metric d on AZ dened by

dx; y

X qxi ; y

i

i2Z

2jij

space AZ ; d is homeomorphic to the Cantor set. For

x 2 AZ and p; q 2 Z with p 6 q, x[p,q] denotes the word

xpxp+1 xq 2 Aqp+1. By a cylinder we mean a set of the

form U w : fx 2 AZ : xk; k wg where w 2 A2k+1, k P 0.

The cylinders are clopen sets in AZ , and they form a natural

base for the topology of AZ .

A function F : AZ ! AZ is a cellular automata if there is a

map (called a local rule) f : A3 ? A such that

416

but we may assume r = 1 after a conjugacy see Lemma

8.1 of [7].) It is evident that F given as above is continuous

with respect to the metric d. The local rule f may be dened

on words of length P3 by the convention that f(v1v2

vn+2) = f(v1v2v3)f(v2v3v4) f(vnvn+1vn+2), so that f is also a

map from An+2 to An for every n 2 N. Hedlund proved (Theorem 5.4 of [6]) that for a surjective cellular automata,

there is a uniformity in the number of pre-images of words

under the action of the local rule.

Proposition 1 (Hedlund). Let F : AZ ! AZ be a surjective

cellular automata with local rule f : A3 ? A. Then for every

n 2 N and every w 2 An, the set f1(w) : {v 2 An+2 : f(v) = w}

has exactly jAj2 elements.

We deduce below an interesting consequence of this

uniformity. The uniform Bernoulli measure on the Borel

r-algebra of AZ will be denoted throughout by l. Note that

this probability measure l is simply the product measure

so that l[Uw] = jAj(2k+1) for any cylinder Uw given by

w 2 A2k+1, k P 0.

Lemma 1. Let F : AZ ! AZ be a cellular automata with local

rule f : A3 ? A. Let k P 0 and let v 2 A2k+3. Then l[F(Uv)] 6

jAj2l[Uv].

Proof. Since Uv is closed and hence compact, F(Uv) is compact and hence closed, and thus Borel. If w = f(v) 2 A2k+1,

then F(Uv) Uw so that l[F(Uv)] 6 l[Uw] = jAj(2k+1) =

jAj2jAj(2k+3) = jAj2l[Uv]. h

Y 0, where l

is the

We say Y AZ is a l-null set if l

completion of l.

Lemma 2. Let F : AZ ! AZ be a surjective cellular automata

with local rule f : A3 ? A and let Y AZ be a l-null set. Then,

F(Y) cannot be a measurable set having positive l-measure.

Proof. Let d > 0. Since the Borel measure l is regular, there

is an open set U AZ such that Y U and l[U] < djAj2. We

S

may write U as a countable disjoint union U = Uv in such a

way that for each word v there is k P 0 such that v 2 A2k+3.

S

Then, F(U) = F(Uv) is Fr and hence Borel. Using Lemma 1,

P

P

we get lFU 6

lFU v 6 jAj2 lU v jAj2 lU < d.

Since F(Y) F(U) and d > 0 is arbitrary, we are done. h

properties of measure-theoretic as well as topological entropy. If T : X ? X is a continuous map of a compact metric

space X, then we denote the topological entropy of T by

h(T); and if m is an invariant Borel probability measure

for T, then we denote the measure-theoretic entropy of T

with respect to m by hm(T). The so called Variational Principle

(see Theorem 8.6 of [12]) says that

compact metric space X, and let m be a T-invariant Borel

probability measure on X with hm(T) = 0. Then, there is a m-null

set Y X such that the restricted map T from XnY to X is

injective.

4. Almost one-to-oneness

Coming back to the theory of cellular automata, let

[r(x)]i = xi+1. Let D be the collection of all x 2 AZ such that

the forward and backward r-orbits, {x, r(x), r2(x), . . . } and

{x, r1(x), r2(x), . . . }, are dense in AZ . It is well-known that

D is a dense Gd set with l[D] = 1 (where l is the uniform

Bernoulli measure). GleasonWelchHedlund established

(Theorem 11.1 and Theorem 5.5 of [6]) the following for

surjective cellular automata (where we have separated

the conclusion into two parts for our convenience).

Proposition 3 (GleasonWelchHedlund). Let F : AZ ! AZ

be a surjective cellular automata with local rule f : A3 ? A.

Then, exactly one of the following holds:

(i) jF1(y)j = 1 for every y 2 D and 1 6 jF1(z)j 6 jAj2 for

every z 2 AZ .

(ii) There is an integer p with 2 6 p 6 jAj2 such that

jF1(y)j = p for every y 2 D and p 6 jF1(z)j 6 jAj2 for

every z 2 AZ .

A continuous map T : X ? X of a compact metric space X

is said to be almost one-to-one if the set {x 2 X : F1(F(x)) =

{x}} is residual in X. If a cellular automata F : AZ ! AZ is

surjective, then F is semi-open [7], and therefore in this

case F is almost one-to-one iff the set fy 2 AZ : jF 1 yj

1g is dense in AZ (c.f. [3]). Thus note that a surjective

cellular automata F : AZ ! AZ fails to be almost one-toone iff statement (ii) of Proposition 3 holds.

5. Zero entropy implies F is almost one-to-one

Now, we put together the jigsaw pieces to discover the

following.

3. Entropy

hT sup hm T;

probability measures m for T. In particular, h(T) > 0 iff

hm(T) > 0 for some T-invariant Borel probability measure m.

There is a connection between hm(T) being zero and T

being injective on a large portion of X. This is given by Corollary 4.14.3 of [12]. We present below the required version of this result.

Theorem 1. Let F : AZ ! AZ be a surjective cellular automata, and let l be the uniform Bernoulli measure on AZ . If

hl(F) = 0, then F is almost one-to-one.

Proof. Since hl(F) = 0, there is a l-null set Y AZ such that F

restricted to AZ n Y is injective by Proposition 2. If F is not almost

one-to-one, statement (ii) of Proposition 3 must hold, and therefore we must have FY AZ since every element of AZ has at

least two F-preimages. This contradicts Lemma 2. h

Proof. By the Variational Principle.

Corollary 2. Let F : AZ ! AZ be a surjective cellular automata, let D AZ be the set of points having dense forward

and backward r-orbits, and let l be the uniform Bernoulli

measure on AZ . If jF1(y)j P 2 for some y 2 D, then hl(F) > 0

and hence h(F) > 0.

If F is an additive cellular automata (that is, if F is a nite

linear combination of integer powers of r), then all points

have equal number of F-preimages and therefore F is

almost one-to-one iff F is injective. Hence we have the

following.

Corollary 3. Let F : AZ ! AZ be a surjective, additive cellular

automata and let l be the uniform Bernoulli measure on AZ . If

hl(F) = 0, then F is injective.

Remarks: (i) More precise information about the entropy of additive cellular automata can be found in Theorem 2

of [5]. (ii) The entropy of an injective cellular automata

need not be zero since the shift homeomorphism

r : AZ ! AZ has entropy logjAj > 0 (Theorem 7.12 of [12]).

(iii) The following example of F : f0; 1; 2gZ ! f0; 1; 2gZ by

Boyle et al. [4],

Fxi 2 if xi 2;

4

automata. Here 21 222 2 f0; 1; 2gZ is clearly an

417

equicontinuity point for F and hence hl(F) = 0 for the uniform Bernoulli measure l by Proposition 5.2 of [11]. In

view of this example, in Theorem 1 we cannot replace

the conclusion of almost one-to-oneness by the stronger

conclusion of injectivity. However, F above has positive

topological entropy since a surjective, non-injective additive cellular automata is embedded in it. So the following

question is still open.

Question: If F is a surjective one-dimensional cellular

automata having topological entropy zero, should F be

injective?

References

[1] Alseda L, Llibre J, Misiurewicz M. Combinatorial dynamics and

entropy in dimension one. Advanced series in nonlinear dynamics,

2nd ed., 5. World Scientic Publishing Co.; 2000.

[2] Blanchard F, Kurka P, Maass A. Topological and measure-theoretic

properties of one-dimensional cellular automata. Physica D

1997;103:8699.

[3] Blokh A, Oversteegen L, Tymchatyn ED. Applications of almost oneto-one maps. Topol Appl 2006;153:157185.

[4] Boyle M, Fiebig D, Fiebig U-R. A dimension group for local

homeomorphisms and endomorphisms of onesided shifts of nite

type. J Reine Angew Math 1997;487:2759.

[5] Damico M, Manzini G, Margara L. On computing the entropy of

cellular automata. Theoret Comput Sci 2003;290(3):162946.

[6] Hedlund GA. Endomorphisms and automorphisms of the shift

dynamical system. Math Sys Th 1969;3:32075.

[7] Moothathu TKS. Homogeneity of surjective cellular automata.

Discrete Contin Dyn Syst 2005;13(1):195202.

[8] Pollicott M, Yuri M. Dynamical systems and Ergodic

theory. Cambridge University Press; 1998.

[9] Sablik M. Measure rigidity for algebraic bipermutative cellular

automata. Ergodic Theor Dyn Syst 2007;27(6):196590.

[10] Shirvani M, Rogers TD. On ergodic one-dimensional cellular

automata. Commun Math Phys 1991;136:599605.

[11] Tisseur P. Cellular automata and Lyapunov exponents. Nonlinearity

2000;13(5):154760.

[12] Walters P. An introduction to ergodic theory. Graduate texts in

math. Springer; 1982.

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