Contraction mapping

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In mathematics, a contraction mapping, or contraction or contractor, on a metric space (M,d) is a function f from M to itself, with the property that there is some nonnegative real number such that for all x and y in M,

The smallest such value of k is called the Lipschitz constant of f. Contractive maps are sometimes called Lipschitzian maps. If the above condition is instead satisfied for k ≤ 1, then the mapping is said to be a non-expansive map.

More generally, the idea of a contractive mapping can be defined for maps between metric spaces. Thus, if (M,d) and (N,d') are two metric spaces, then is a contractive mapping if there is a constant such that

for all x and y in M.

Every contraction mapping is Lipschitz continuous and hence uniformly continuous (for a Lipschitz continuous function, the constant k is no longer necessarily less than 1).

A contraction mapping has at most one fixed point. Moreover, the Banach fixed-point theorem states that every contraction mapping on a nonempty complete metric space has a unique fixed point, and that for any x in M the iterated function sequence x, f (x), f (f (x)), f (f (f (x))), ... converges to the fixed point. This concept is very useful for iterated function systems where contraction mappings are often used. Banach's fixed-point theorem is also applied in proving the existence of solutions of ordinary differential equations, and is used in one proof of the inverse function theorem.[1]

Contraction mapping plays an important role in dynamic programming problems.[2][3]

Firmly non-expansive mapping[edit]

A non-expansive mapping with can be strengthened to a firmly non-expansive mapping in a Hilbert space H if the following holds for all x and y in H:


This is a special case of averaged nonexpansive operators with .[4] A firmly non-expansive mapping is always non-expansive, via the Cauchy–Schwarz inequality.

Subcontraction map[edit]

A subcontraction map or subcontractor is a map f on a metric space (M,d) such that

If the image of a subcontractor f is compact, then f has a fixed point.[5]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Shifrin, Theodore (2005). Multivariable Mathematics. Wiley. pp. 244–260. ISBN 0-471-52638-X. 
  2. ^ Denardo, Eric V. (1967). "Contraction Mappings in the Theory Underlying Dynamic Programming". SIAM Review. 9 (2): 165–177. doi:10.1137/1009030. 
  3. ^ Stokey, Nancy L.; Lucas, Robert E. (1989). Recursive Methods in Economic Dynamics. Cambridge: Harvard University Press. pp. 49–55. ISBN 0-674-75096-9. 
  4. ^ Combettes, Patrick L. (2004). "Solving monotone inclusions via compositions of nonexpansive averaged operators". Optimization. 53 (5–6): 475–504. doi:10.1080/02331930412331327157. 
  5. ^ Goldstein, A.A. (1967). Constructive real analysis. Harper’s Series in Modern Mathematics. New York-Evanston-London: Harper and Row. p. 17. Zbl 0189.49703. 

Further reading[edit]

  • Istratescu, Vasile I. (1981). Fixed Point Theory : An Introduction. Holland: D.Reidel. ISBN 90-277-1224-7.  provides an undergraduate level introduction.
  • Granas, Andrzej; Dugundji, James (2003). Fixed Point Theory. New York: Springer-Verlag. ISBN 0-387-00173-5. 
  • Kirk, William A.; Sims, Brailey (2001). Handbook of Metric Fixed Point Theory. London: Kluwer Academic. ISBN 0-7923-7073-2.