This project proposes research concerning (a) the computation of the Hausdorff dimension of the invariant set for conformal, graph-directed iterated function systems, (b) Floquet multipliers for nonautonomous, linear functional differential equations and (c) smoothness questions (infinite differentiability versus real analyticity) for solutions of functional differential equations. Topic (a) is only loosely connected with topics (b) and (c); but a unifying theme in the study of all topics has been the use of the theory of positive operators and of generalizations of the Krein-Rutman theorem. For example, to an iterated function system as in (a), one associates a family of positive linear operators parametrized by positive real real numbers; and one proves that each such positive linear operator has a strictly positive eigenvector with a corresponding eigenvalue equal to the operator's spectral radius. The desired Hausdorff dimension is the unique value of the parameter for which the spectral radius of the operator equals one, and finding the Hausdorff dimension is facilitated by knowledge about the regularity of the eigenvectors. In studying topic (c) one finds examples of linear, nonautonomous functional differential equations which naively appear to be real analytic. Nevertheless, such equations may have infinitely differentiable periodic solutions which fail to be real analytic at an uncountable set of points. The theory of positive operators is helpful in constructing such examples.
Many real-world problems are best modeled by equations which take history into account, so-called "functional differential equations" (FDE's) or "differential-delay equations." Thus red blood cell production in the human body at a given time involves knowledge of red blood cell levels six to ten days before and has been modeled by FDE's. Modeling the pupil light reflex in the human eye again involves FDE's. Many other examples can be found, not only in biology and physiology, but also in population dynamics, mechanical engineering (mechanical vibrations), nonlinear optics (lasers with opto-electronic feedback), economics and physics ( the famous and little-understood two body problem of electrodynamics). It is likely that advances in the theoretical understanding of FDE's will eventually have real-world applications. The search for such theoretical advances is a major focus of this proposal.