Interval exchange transformation
In mathematics, an interval exchange transformation is a kind of dynamical system that generalises circle rotation. The phase space consists of the unit interval, and the transformation acts by cutting the interval into several subintervals, and then permuting these subintervals.
Define a map called the interval exchange transformation associated to the pair as follows. For let
Then for , define
if lies in the subinterval . Thus acts on each subinterval of the form by a translation, and it rearranges these subintervals so that the subinterval at position is moved to position .
The inverse of the interval exchange transformation is again an interval exchange transformation. In fact, it is the transformation where for all .
If and (in cycle notation), and if we join up the ends of the interval to make a circle, then is just a circle rotation. The Weyl equidistribution theorem then asserts that if the length is irrational, then is uniquely ergodic. Roughly speaking, this means that the orbits of points of are uniformly evenly distributed. On the other hand, if is rational then each point of the interval is periodic, and the period is the denominator of (written in lowest terms).
If , and provided satisfies certain non-degeneracy conditions (namely there is no integer such that ), a deep theorem which was a conjecture of M.Keane and due independently to W.Veech  and to H.Masur  asserts that for almost all choices of in the unit simplex the interval exchange transformation is again uniquely ergodic. However, for there also exist choices of so that is ergodic but not uniquely ergodic. Even in these cases, the number of ergodic invariant measures of is finite, and is at most .
- Michael Keane, Interval exchange transformations, Mathematische Zeitschrift 141, 25 (1975), http://www.springerlink.com/content/q10w48161l15gg18/
- William A. Veech, Gauss measures for transformations on the space of interval exchange maps, Annals of Mathematics 115 (1982), http://www.jstor.org/stable/1971391
- Howard Masur, Interval Exchange Transformations and Measured Foliations, Annals of Mathematics 115 (1982) http://www.jstor.org/stable/1971341
- Piecewise isometries - an emerging area of dynamical systems, Arek Goetz
- Artur Avila and Giovanni Forni, Weak mixing for interval exchange transformations and translation flows, arXiv:math/0406326v1, http://arxiv.org/abs/math.DS/0406326