# Difference Equations with Absolute Values

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1 Difference Equations with Absolute Values C.M. Kent and H. Sedaghat Department of Mathematics Virginia Commonwealth University Richmond, VA , USA Abstract.We study a class of multi-parameter difference equations that contain the absolute value of a difference. Using two different semiconjugate factorizations, we obtain precise information about the solutions of these equations for various ranges of parameter values. 1 Introduction. Consider the second-order, 3-parameter difference equation x n+1 = ax n bx n 1 + cx n. (1) The case c = 0 is studied extensively in [3] and [5] where several different types of behavior that bifurcate with changing parameters are shown to occur for (1). Periodic solutions, unbounded solutions and convergent (monotonic as well as non-monotonic) solutions all exist depending on the parameter values a, b; further, solutions with qualitatively different behavior may coexist with the same set of parameter values. Another special case of (1) where a = b and 0 c < 1 is studied in [6] where various criteria for the global asymptotic stability of the origin are given, including conditions for monotonic and non-monotonic convergence. Here we study (1) and its generalizations under different restrictions on parameter values than considered in previous studies. With the new parameter ranges, a semiconjugate relation facilitates the derivation of explicit solutions. Also with the aid of another semiconjugate relation we obtain results concerning the solutions of (1) when the first semiconjugate relation does not hold so as to highlight some differences that exist between the two cases. For background material and related issues see [], [4] and [7]. The basic second order equation. In the case b = ac Equation (1) can be written as x n+1 = a x n cx n 1 + cx n. () 1

2 Making the substitution reduces () to the first order equation x n cx n 1 = t n (3) t n+1 = a t n. (4) Evidently solutions of () with real initial values x 0, x 1 coincide with the solutions of the uncoupled system of first order equations (3) and (4). We first solve (4) with t 0 = x 0 cx 1 to get t n = t 0 a n, n = 1,,... (5) Using this solution in the first order equation (3) inductively yields a solution x n = x 0 c n + t 0 c n k a k (6) for (). Upon adding the geometric series and rearranging terms we obtain the first part of the following comprehensive result on (). The remaining parts are then easily established using the first part. In the following and elsewhere, almost all solutions means solutions generated by all initial values outside a set of Lebesgue measure zero in the phase space. k=1.1 Theorem. (a) The general solution of () is given by and in the exceptional case where a = c we get x n = (x 0 s 0 )c n + s 0 a n, a c, s 0 = at 0 a c x n = (x 0 + t 0 n)c n. (b) If max{ a, c } < 1 then every solution of () converges to zero. (c) If max{ a, c } = 1 and c < 1, then every solution of () is bounded. If c > 1 then almost all solutions of () converge to a nonzero constant. If c = 1 then non-trivial solutions of () converge to one of the following period- sequences [ x 0 + at 0 a + 1 ] [ x 0 + t 0 ] ( 1) n, a < 1 ( 1) n + t 0, a = 1. (d) If max{ a, c } > 1 or c = a = 1, then almost all solutions of () are unbounded. If c 1 < a then all unbounded solutions approach infinity eventually monotonically.

3 Equations (3) and (4) constitute a semiconjugate factorization of () in the sense of [7, Sec.3.]. Here, the factor map f(t) = a t is linked via the map H(x, y) = x cy to the standard vectorization or unfolding of (). Although it is not easy to discover semiconjugacies in general, it is worth noting that when a particular equation can be split or factorized, a semiconjugate relation can often be identified. In fact, another semiconjugate factorization which applies to equation (1) generally (not just to the special case ()) is obtained by dividing (1) on both sides by x n to get x n+1 x n = a bx n 1 + c. This latter equation can be written as r n+1 = c + a b, n = 0, 1,,... (7) r n if we define r n = x n /x n 1 for every n 0. We thus have a map H(x, y) = x/y linking (1) to the factor map that defines the dynamics of the ratios r n, namely, φ(r) = c + a b r, r 0. The advantage of (7) over (4) is that (7) applies when b is not equal to ac. A disadvantage of (7) is that it does not account for those solutions of (1) that pass through zero. Rather than finding an explicit solution for (7) we use it in a qualitative fashion, as was done in [3], [5] and [6]. The next theorem, which may be compared with Theorem.1, concerns the case b ac. But first, we present a useful lemma on the behavior of the iterates of the mapping φ or of the solutions of (7) in this case.. Lemma. (a) If a, c > 0 and 0 < b < ac then the mapping φ has a unique fixed point r > b/a that attracts all positive orbits of φ. (b) If 0 < a < c and b > ac then the mapping φ has a unique fixed point r (0, b/a) that attracts all positive orbits of φ. Proof. (a) It is clear that φ attains its global minimum value c uniquely at r = b/a; further, if b < ac then (a + c) 4b > (a c) so φ has a unique fixed point x n r = a + c + (a + c) 4b > c > b a. Since b < ac, for all r > 0 we have φ(r) c > b/a. Thus for any sequence of ratios r n = x n /x n 1 we have r n > b/a for n 1. Hence, we can eliminate the absolute value from (7) and rewrite it as a Riccati equation r n = (a + c)r n b r n. 3

4 It is not difficult to see that every solution of this equation converges to r (or see [1] or Theorem A.4 in [4]). (b) If 0 < a < c and b > ac then φ has a positive fixed point r = c a + (c a) + 4b We note that r is the unique fixed point of φ since φ is strictly decreasing if r < b/a and for r b/a we have r > a + c b = φ(r) (8) r if 0 < a < c and b > ac. From (8) it also follows that if r n is any solution of (7) then there is N 1 such that r N < b/a. Further, r n+1 > b/a for n N if r n < r = < b a. ab a + b ac. (9) We note that φ(r ) = b/a. However, (9) cannot hold because r < c r n for all n 1. Note that after multiplying and rearranging terms, the inequality r < c is seen to be equivalent to b(c a) > ac(c a) which is true under the hypotheses in this case. We have established that r n (c, b/a) for n N so the absolute value may be eliminated from (7) to get the Riccati equation r n = (c a)r n + b r n. Now from [1] or Theorem A.4 in [4] it follows that r n r as n..3 Theorem. (a) Let 0 < a, c < 1 and 0 < b < ac. Then every positive solution of (1) converges to zero eventually monotonically if b > a + c 1. (10) But if a + c > 1 and b < a + c 1 (11) then every positive solution of (1) approaches infinity eventually monotonically. In either case, if x 0, x 1 > 0 then for all n 1 there are suitable constants k 1, k such that ( a + c ) n ( (a + c) x n = k 4b a + c + ) n (a + c) 1 + k 4b. (1) (b) Let 0 < a < c and b > ac. Then every positive solution of (1) converges to zero eventually monotonically if b < 1 c + a (13) 4

5 in which case c < 1 also. But if b > 1 c + a (14) then every positive solution of (1) approaches infinity eventually monotonically. In either case, for all n sufficiently large there are suitable constants k 1, k such that ( c a ) n ( (c a) x n = k + 4b c a + ) n (c a) 1 + k + 4b. (15) Proof. (a) First, note that if 0 < a, c < 1 then a(1 c) < 1 c so a + c 1 < ac. If r is the fixed point in Lemma.(a), then it follows that if (10) holds then r < 1 while if (11) holds with a + c > 1 then r > 1. Thus if x n is any positive solution of (1) then since x n+1 = r n+1 x n we see from Lemma. that for all large n, the sequence x n is decreasing to zero or increasing to infinity depending on whether (10) or (11) holds, respectively. The explicit expression for x n is obtained by dropping the absolute value from (1) and solving the resulting linear equation x n+1 = (a + c)x n bx n 1 with initial values x 0, x 1 to get the explicit form (1). We note that of the two eigenvalues of the linear equation that are shown in (1), the one that is not equal to r is always between 0 and 1 under the hypotheses of this theorem. (b) By Lemma.(b), the fixed point r attracts all positive orbits of φ. Now if (13) holds, then r < 1 while (14) implies that r > 1. The stated conclusions are therefore true. Also (13) plus the condition b > ac gives c < 1; for otherwise (13) would yield b a < 1 c 0 which would contradict b > ac a. Therefore, convergence to zero under condition (13) requires that c < 1. On the other hand, with (14) it is possible that c < 1 so unbounded solutions may still occur when a, c < 1. Since every orbit r n of φ approaches r, there is a positive integer N such that r n < b/a for all n N. This means that a < b/r n for n N and the absolute value may thus be removed from (1) to solve the resulting linear equation x n+1 = (c a)x n + bx n 1 with initial values x N 1, x N to get the explicit form (15)..4 Remark. When b = a + c 1, i.e., the missing value in Theorem.3(a), then r = 1 and from (1) it follows that every solution of (1) approaches a constant, namely, k in a monotonic fashion. 5

6 Similarly, when b = 1 c + a then r = 1 while the other eigenvalue shown in (15) equals b. Since here 0 < b < 1 we see that every solution of (1) approaches the constant k in an oscillatory fashion..5 Remark. Theorem.3 provides a set of restrictions on the three parameters of Equation (1) that permit the removal (eventually, for large n) of the absolute value from (1), one way or the other. Thus we were able to obtain the explicit formulas (1) and (15) for the asymptotic behavior of the solutions of (1). Such flexibility does not exist for all parameter values; for example, if c < a and b > ac then the absolute value may continue to affect the asymptotic behavior in the long term because of the existence of multiple fixed points or of periodic orbits for the mapping φ. The analysis would then require using methods similiar to those discussed in [3] for the case c = 0. 3 Higher order and other generalizations. The next result concerns a delay version (and a generalization) of the second order equation (). In this case, it is illuminating to write the solution in terms of its k constituent subsequences. 3.1 Theorem. The general solution of the equation x n+1 = a x n cx n k + cx n k+1, k 1, a > 0, c 0 (16) with a fixed delay k is given in terms of the subsequences x km+j = (x j k s j ) c m+1 + s j a k(m+1), m = 0, 1,,... (17) when a c 1/k where for each j = 1,,..., k, When a = c 1/k we have for j = 1,,..., k, s j = x 0 cx k a j a k. c x km+j = [x j k + x 0 cx k c 1+j/k (m + 1)]c m+1. (18) Proof. As in the preceding section, we find the solutions of the linear non-homogeneous equation of order k given by the semiconjugate link x n cx n k = t 0 a n, t 0 = x 0 cx k. (19) The eigenvalues of the homogeneous part are all the k-th roots of the real number c so it is possible to express the solutions of (16) in the customary way using trigonometric functions. However, a more informative form of the solution can be obtained by introducing the variables y (j) m = x km+j, j = 1,,..., k, m = 0, 1,,... 6

7 in (19) to obtain k independent subsequences each of which satisfies a first order equation y (j) m cy (j) m 1 = t 0 a km+j, y (j) 0 = x j = cx j k + t 0 a j. Solving this equation for each fixed j and some straightforward calculations give (17) or (18) as appropriate. The next result extends Theorem.1 to a non-autonomous version of equation (). Given the fundamentally non-homogeneous nature of equation (3), this is a natural extension of Theorem Theorem. Let a n, b n, d n be given sequences of real numbers with a n 0 and b n+1 + d n 0 for all n 0. The general solution of is given by x n = x 0 c n + x n+1 = a n x n cx n 1 + b n + cx n + d n, c 0 (0) k=1 c n k k 1 k 1 k 1 d k 1 + t 0 a j + (b i + d i 1 ) where t 0 = x 0 cx 1 + b 0. Proof. Equation (0) has a semiconjugate factorization as j=0 i=1 j=i a j. (1) x n cx n 1 + b n = t n, t n = a n 1 t n 1 + b n + d n 1. () The second equation in () may be solved recursively to get n 1 t n = t 0 a j + b n + d n 1 + j=0 n 1 n 1 (b i + d i 1 ) a j. (3) Substituting (3) in the first equation in () and using another recursive argument yields (1). In order to efficiently extract some new information from Theorem 3. we consider a special case in which b n+1 + d n = 0 in (0). 3.3 Corollary. (a) Let a n, b n be given sequences of real numbers with a n 0 for all n 0.Then the general solution of i=1 x n+1 = a n x n cx n 1 b n + cx n + b n+1, c 0 (4) j=i is given by x n = x 0 c n + c n k k 1 b k + t 0 k=1 j=0 a j (5) 7

8 where t 0 = x 0 cx 1 b 0. (b) If c < 1 and n k=0 a k and b n are bounded, then all solutions of (4) are bounded. (c) If c < 1 and n j=0 a j a and b n b as n then every solution of (4) converges to the real number b + a t 0 1 c. (d) If a N = 0 for some least N 0, then for all n N + 1 the solution x n of (4) reduces to x n = c n N x N + k=n+1 c n k b k. (6) In particular, if c < 1 and a n = 0 for some n 0, then each solution of (4) converges to a solution of y n+1 = cy n + b n+1. Proof. (a) This is an immediate consequence of Theorem 3.. (b) Taking the absolute value of (5) gives the following n 1 x n x 0 c n + c k (B + A t 0 ) x 0 c + B + A t 0 1 c k=0 where A = sup n 1 n 1 k=0 a k and B = sup k 1 b k. Boundedness follows. (c) Let p n be any convergent sequence of real numbers with limit p. Then by a straightforward argument it may be established that lim n k=1 c n k p k = p 1 c. Thus the proof is completed by taking limits in (5) with p n representing b n or n 1 k=0 a k. (d) If there is a least positive integer N such that a N = 0, then for all n N + 1 (3) reduces to t n = b n + d n 1 = 0. Using this in the first equation in () gives (6). The last assertion now follows from (6). 3.4 Remark. The situation in Corollary 3.3(d) is an interesting consequence of having a variable coefficient a n ; it says in effect that if the minimum of a n is zero and c < 1, then the coefficients a n (and thus the absolute value) have no effects on the solutions of (4) asymptotically. We emphasize that the conclusion of Corollary 3.3(d) is not valid in the more general context of Theorem 3.. Another interesting consequence of variable a n is the possibility that every solution of (4) or more generally of (0) may converge to a finite real number even if a n > 1 for all n. For example, if c < 1 then each solution of the equation x n+1 = cx n + 1/n! x n cx n 1 n n n + 1 n + 8

9 by Corollary 3.3(c) converges to the real number 1 + e x 0 cx 1 1 c since for all n 1, lim n k=0 n 1 1/k! = P k=0 1/k! = e. 3.5 Remark. Some of the preceding methods also apply to certain equations that do not explicitly involve the absolute value. For example, arguing as we did in Theorem 3. and Corollary 3.3, it follows that the solutions of the quadratic equation are given by (z n+1 cz n b n+1 ) = a (z n cz n 1 b n ) (7) z n = z 0 c n + c n k (b k + t 0 a k σ k ) k=1 where σ n is an arbitrary sequence in the set { 1, 1}. This latter sequence originates in the semiconjugate factor t n+1 = a t n of (7) which is equivalent to t n+1 = a t n. (8) It is evident that the general solution of (8) has the form t n = t 0 a n σ n. 4 Concluding Remarks. We obtained several results about difference equations containing the absolute value of a difference. Many of these results can be further extended, and some of these generalizations are straightforward. But there are also less routine problems that exist in various cases. For example, the behavior of solutions of Equation (1) in cases (i.e., for parameter values) not discussed here or in [3], [5] or [6] remain to be determined. In fact, one may choose to study the more general equation x n+1 = ax n bx n 1 + cx n + dx n 1 and obtain results based on various subsets of the 4 dimensional parameter space, rather like we did here or in [3], [6]. Going in a different direction, we may study non-autonomous equations such as x n+1 = a n x n b n x n 1 9

10 about which relatively little is known, in spite of the remarkable simplicity of the equation and its similarity to a linear equation. Both of the preceding equations are amenable to analysis using ratios, a procedure that was effective in Theorem. as well as in various previous work. Ratios however, are not as effective for generalizations of the above equations to order 3 and greater so new methodology may need to be developed for equations whose order is greater than. References. [1] Brand, L., A Sequence defined by a difference equation, Amer. Math. Monthly, 6, , 1955 [] Elaydi, S.N., An Introduction to Difference Equations, nd ed., Springer, New York, 1999 [3] Kent, C.M. and Sedaghat, H., Convergence, periodicity and bifurcations for the -parameter absolute-difference equation, J. of Difference Eqn. Appl., (in press) [4] Kocic, V.L. and Ladas, G., Global behavior of nonlinear difference equations of higher order with applications, Kluwer, Dordrecht, 1993 [5] Sedaghat, H., Periodicity and convergence for x n+1 = x n x n 1, J. Math. Analy. Appl., 91, 31-39, 004 [6] Sedaghat, H., The global stability of equilibrium in a nonlinear second-order difference equation, Int. J. Pure and Applied Math., 8, 09-4, 003 [7] Sedaghat, H., Nonlinear Difference Equations: Theory with Applications to Social Science Models, Kluwer, Dordrecht,

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