Ergodicity and large deviations in physical systems with stochastic dynamics
Department of Applied Mathematics and Theoretical Physics, University of Cambridge,
CB3 0WA, UK
2 Department of Chemistry, University of Cambridge, Lensfield Road, Cambridge CB2 1EW, UK
a e-mail: email@example.com
Received in final form: 29 February 2020
Published online: 22 April 2020
In ergodic physical systems, time-averaged quantities converge (for large times) to their ensemble-averaged values. Large deviation theory describes rare events where these time averages differ significantly from the corresponding ensemble averages. It allows estimation of the probabilities of these events, and their mechanisms. This theory has been applied to a range of physical systems, where it has yielded new insights into entropy production, current fluctuations, metastability, transport processes, and glassy behaviour. We review some of these developments, identifying general principles. We discuss a selection of dynamical phase transitions, and we highlight some connections between large-deviation theory and optimal control theory.
Key words: Statistical and Nonlinear Physics
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