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1 Markov Chains These notes contain material prepared by colleagues who have also presented this course at Cambridge, especially James Norris. The material mainly comes from books of Norris, Grimmett & Stirzaker, Ross, Aldous & Fill, and Grinstead & Snell. Many of the examples are classic and ought to occur in any sensible course on Markov chains. Contents Table of Contents Schedules i iv Definitions, basic properties, the transition matrix. An example and some interesting questions Definitions Where do Markov chains come from? How can we simulate them? The n-step transition matrix P (n) for a two-state Markov chain Calculation of n-step transition probabilities, class structure, absorption, and irreducibility 5. Example: a three-state Markov chain Example: use of symmetry Markov property Class structure Closed classes Irreducibility Hitting probabilities and mean hitting times 9 3. Absorption probabilities and mean hitting times Calculation of hitting probabilities and mean hitting times Absorption probabilities are minimal solutions to RHEs Gambler s ruin Survival probability for birth and death chains, stopping times and strong Markov property 3 4. Survival probability for birth death chains Mean hitting times are minimal solutions to RHEs Stopping times Strong Markov property i

2 5 Recurrence and transience 7 5. Recurrence and transience Equivalence of recurrence and certainty of return Equivalence of transience and summability of n-step transition probabilities Recurrence as a class property Relation with closed classes Random walks in dimensions one, two and three 6. Simple random walk on Z Simple symmetric random walk on Z Simple symmetric random walk on Z *A continuized analysis of random walk on Z 3 * *Feasibility of wind instruments* Invariant distributions 5 7. Examples of invariant distributions Notation What does an invariant measure or distribution tell us? Invariant distribution is the solution to LHEs Stationary distributions Equilibrium distributions Existence and uniqueness of invariant distribution, mean return time, positive and null recurrence 9 8. Existence and uniqueness up to constant multiples Mean return time, positive and null recurrence Random surfer Convergence to equilibrium for ergodic chains Equivalence of positive recurrence and the existence of an invariant distribution Aperiodic chains Convergence to equilibrium *and proof by coupling* Long-run proportion of time spent in given state Ergodic theorem *Kemeny s constant and the random target lemma* Time reversal, detailed balance, reversibility, random walk on a graph 4. Time reversal Detailed balance Reversibility Random walk on a graph ii

3 Concluding problems and recommendations for further study 45. Reversibility and Ehrenfest s urn model Reversibility and the M/M/ queue *The probabilistic abacus* *Random walks and electrical networks* Probability courses in Part II Appendix 5 A Probability spaces 5 B Historical notes 5 C The probabilistic abacus for absorbing chains 53 Index 56 Topics marked * * are non-examinable. Furthermore, only Appendix A is examinable. Richard Weber, October 0 iii

4 Schedules Definition and basic properties, the transition matrix. Calculation of n-step transition probabilities. Communicating classes, closed classes, absorption, irreducibility. Calculation of hitting probabilities and mean hitting times; survival probability for birth and death chains. Stopping times and statement of the strong Markov property. [5] Recurrence and transience; equivalence of transience and summability of n-step transition probabilities; equivalence of recurrence and certainty of return. Recurrence as a class property, relation with closed classes. Simple random walks in dimensions one, two and three. [3] Invariant distributions, statement of existence and uniqueness up to constant multiples. Mean return time, positive recurrence; equivalence of positive recurrence and the existence of an invariant distribution. Convergence to equilibrium for irreducible, positive recurrent, aperiodic chains *and proof by coupling*. Long-run proportion of time spent in given state. [3] Time reversal, detailed balance, reversibility; random walk on a graph. [] Learning outcomes A Markov process is a random process for which the future (the next step) depends only on the present state; it has no memory of how the present state was reached. A typical example is a random walk (in two dimensions, the drunkards walk). The course is concerned with Markov chains in discrete time, including periodicity and recurrence. For example, a random walk on a lattice of integers returns to the initial position with probability one in one or two dimensions, but in three or more dimensions the probability of recurrence in zero. Some Markov chains settle down to an equilibrium state and these are the next topic in the course. The material in this course will be essential if you plan to take any of the applicable courses in Part II. Learning outcomes By the end of this course, you should: understand the notion of a discrete-time Markov chain and be familiar with both the finite state-space case and some simple infinite state-space cases, such as random walks and birth-and-death chains; know how to compute for simple examples the n-step transition probabilities, hitting probabilities, expected hitting times and invariant distribution; understand the notions of recurrence and transience, and the stronger notion of positive recurrence; understand the notion of time-reversibility and the role of the detailed balance equations; know under what conditions a Markov chain will converge to equilibrium in long time; be able to calculate the long-run proportion of time spent in a given state. iv

5 Definitions, basic properties, the transition matrix Markov chains were introduced in 906 by Andrei Andreyevich Markov (856 9) and were named in his honor.. An example and some interesting questions Example.. A frog hops about on 7 lily pads. The numbers next to arrowsshow the probabilities with which, at the next jump, he jumps to a neighbouring lily pad (and when out-going probabilities sum to less than he stays where he is with the remaining probability) P = There are 7 states (lily pads). In matrix P the element p 57 (= /) is the probability that, when starting in state 5, the next jump takes the frog to state 7. We would like to know where do we go, how long does it take to get there, and what happens in the long run? Specifically: (a) Starting in state, what is the probability that we are still in state after 3 steps? (p (3) = /4) after 5 steps? (p(5) = 3/6) or after 000 steps? ( /5 as lim n p (n) = /5) (b) Starting in state 4, what is the probability that we ever reach state 7? (/3) (c) Starting in state 4, how long on average does it take to reach either 3 or 7? (/3) (d) Starting in state, what is the long-run proportion of time spent in state 3? (/5) Markov chains models/methods are useful in answering questions such as: How long does it take to shuffle deck of cards? How likely is a queue to overflow its buffer? How long does it take for a knight making random moves on a chessboard to return to his initial square (answer 68, if starting in a corner, 4 if starting near the centre). What do the hyperlinks between web pages say about their relative popularities?

6 . Definitions Let I be a countable set, {i,j,k,...}. Each i I is called a state and I is called the state-space. We work in a probability space (Ω, F,P). Here Ω is a set of outcomes, F is a set of subsets of Ω, and for A F, P(A) is the probability of A (see Appendix A). The object of our study is a sequence of random variables X 0,X,... (taking values in I) whose joint distribution is determined by simple rules. Recall that a random variable X with values in I is a function X : Ω I. A row vector λ = (λ i : i I) is called a measure if λ i 0 for all i. If i λ i = then it is a distribution (or probability measure). We start with an initial distribution over I, specified by {λ i : i I} such that 0 λ i for all i and i I λ i =. The special case that with probability we start in state i is denoted λ = δ i = (0,...,,...,0). We also have a transition matrix P = (p ij : i,j I) with p ij 0 for all i,j. It is a stochastic matrix, meaning that p ij 0 for all i,j I and j I p ij = (i.e. each row of P is a distribution over I). Definition.. We say that (X n ) n 0 is a Markov chain with initial distribution λ and transition matrix P if for all n 0 and i 0,...,i n+ I, (i) P(X 0 = i 0 ) = λ i0 ; (ii) P(X n+ = i n+ X 0 = i 0,...,X n = i n ) = P(X n+ = i n+ X n = i n ) = p ini n+. For short, we say (X n ) n 0 is Markov(λ,P). Checking conditions (i) and (ii) is usually the most helpful way to determine whether or not a given random process (X n ) n 0 is a Markov chain. However, it can also be helpful to have the alternative description which is provided by the following theorem. Theorem.3. (X n ) n 0 is Markov(λ,P) if and only if for all n 0 and i 0,...,i n I, P(X 0 = i 0,...,X n = i n ) = λ i0 p i0i p in i n. (.) Proof. Suppose (X n ) n 0 is Markov(λ,P). Then P(X 0 = i 0,...,X n = i n ) = P(X n = i n X 0 = i 0,...,X n = i n )P(X 0 = i 0,...,X n = i n ) = P(X 0 = i 0 )P(X = i X 0 = i 0 ) P(X n = i n X 0 = i,...,x n = i n ) = λ i0 p i0i p in i n. On the other hand if (.) holds we can sum it over all i,...,i n, to give P(X 0 = i 0 ) = λ 0, i.e (i). Then summing (.) on i n we get P(X 0 = i 0,...,X n = i n ) = λ i0 p i0i p in i n. Hence P(X n = i n X 0 = i 0,...,X n = i n ) = P(X 0 = i 0,...,X n = i n ) P(X 0 = i 0,...,X n = i n ) = p i n i n,

7 which establishes (ii)..3 Where do Markov chains come from? At each time we apply some new randomness to determine the next step, in a way that is a function only of the current state. We might take U,U,... as some i.i.d. random variables taking values in a set E and a function F : I E I. Take i I. Set X 0 = i and define recursively X n+ = F(X n,u n+ ), n 0. Then (X n ) n 0 is Markov(δ i,p) where p ij = P(F(i,U) = j)..4 How can we simulate them? Use a computer to simulate U,U,... as i.i.d. U[0,]. Define F(U,i) = J by the rules U [0,p i ) = J = [ j U k= p ik, ) j k= p ik, j = J = j..5 The n-step transition matrix Let A be an event. A convenient notation is P i (A) = P(A X 0 = i). For example P i (X = j) = p ij. Given the initial distribution λ, let us treat it as a row vector. Then P(X = j) = i I λ i P i (X = j) = i I λ i p ij. Similarly, P i (X = j) = k P i (X = k,x = j) = k p ik p kj = (P ) ij P(X = j) = i,k λ i P i (X = k,x = j) = i,k λ i p ik p kj = (λp ) j. Continuing in this way, P i (X n = j) = (δ i P n ) j = (P n ) ij = p (n) ij P(X n = j) = i 0,...,i n λ i0 p i0i p in j = (λp n ) j. Thus P (n) = (p (n) ij ), the n-step transition matrix, is simply Pn (P raised to power n). Also, for all i,j and n,m 0, the (obvious) Chapman-Kolmogorov equations hold: p (n+m) ij = k I p (n) ik p(m) kj 3

8 named for their independent formulation by Chapman (a Trinity College graduate, ), and Kolmogorov ( ). In Example. n P (n) = P (n) for a two-state Markov chain Example.4 (A two-state Markov chain). α β ( ) α β α α P = β β The eigenvalues are and α β. So we can write ( ) ( ) 0 0 P = U U 0 α β = P n = U 0 ( α β) n U So p (n) = A+B( α β)n for some A and B. i.e. Butp (0) = = A+B andp() = α = A+B( α β). So(A,B) = (β,α)/(α+β), P (X n = ) = p (n) = β α+β + α α+β ( α β)n. Note that this tends exponentially fast to a limit of β/(α+β). Other components of P n can be computed similarly, and we have ( β P n α+β = + α α+β ( α β)n α α+β α ) α+β ( α β)n β α+β β α+β ( α β)n α α+β + β α+β ( α β)n Note. We might have reached the same answer by arguing: ( p (n) = p(n ) p +p (n ) p = p (n ) ( α)+ This gives the linear recurrence relation p (n) = β +( α β)p(n ) to which the solution is of the form p (n) = A+B( α β)n. p (n ) ) β. 4

9 Calculation of n-step transition probabilities, class structure, absorption, and irreducibility. Example: a three-state Markov chain Example.. / 3 / 0 0 P = 0 0 Now 0 = det(xi P) = x(x /) /4 = (/4)(x )(4x +). Eigenvalues are, ±i/. This means that p (n) = A+B(i/)n +C( i/) n. We make the substitution: (±i/) n = (/) n e ±inπ/ = (/) n( ) cos(nπ/)±isin(nπ/). Thus for some B and C, ) p (n) = A+(/)n( B cos(nπ/)+c sin(nπ/). We then use facts that p (0) =, p() p (n) = 5 +( = 0, p() = 0 to fix A, B and C and get ) n [ 4 nπ 5 cos ] nπ 5 sin. Note that the second term is exponentially decaying. We have p (5) = 3 6, p(0) = 5 56, p(n) /5 < n. More generally, for chain with m states, and states i and j (i) Compute the eigenvalues µ,...,µ m of the m m matrix P. (ii) If the eigenvalues are distinct then p (n) ij has the form (remembering that µ = ), p (n) ij = a +a µ n + a m µ n m for some constants a,...,a m. If an eigenvalue µ is repeated k times then there will be a term of (b 0 +b n+ +b k n k )µ n. (iii) Complex eigenvalues come in conjugate pairs and these can be written using sins and cosines, as in the example. However, sometimes there is a more clever way. 5

10 . Example: use of symmetry Example. (Random walk on vertices of a complete graph). Consider a random walk on the complete graph K 4 (vertices of a tetrahedron), with 0 P = Eigenvalues are {, /3, /3, /3} so general solution is p (n) = A + ( /3)n (a + bn + cn ). However, we may use symmetry in a helpful way. Notice that for i j, p (n) ij = (/3)( p (n) ii ). So p (n) = p j p (n ) j = (/3) j ( p (n ) Thus we have just a first order recurrence equation, to which the general solution is of the form p (n) = A + B( /3)n. Since A+B = and A + ( /3)B = 0 we have p (n) = /4+(3/4)( /3)n. Obviously, p (n) /4 as n. p (n) Do we expect the same sort of thing for random walk on corners of a cube? (No, does not tend to a limit since p(n) = 0 if n is odd.).3 Markov property Theorem.3 (Markov property). Let (X n ) n 0 be Markov(λ,P). Then conditional on X m = i, (X m+n ) n 0 is Markov(δ i,p) and is independent of the random variables X 0,X,...,X m. Proof (non-examinable). WemustshowthatforanyeventAdeterminedbyX 0,...,X m we have ). P({X m = i m,...,x m+n = i m+n } A X m = i) = δ iim p imi m+ p im+n i m+n P(A X m = i) (.) then the result follows from Theorem.3. First consider the case of elementary events like A = {X 0 = i 0,...,X m = i m }. In that case we have to show that P(X 0 = i 0,...,X m+n = i m+n and i = i m )/P(X m = i) = δ iim p imi m+ p im+n i m+n P(X 0 = i 0,...,X m = i m and i = i m )/P(X m = i) which is true by Theorem.3. In general, any event A determined by X 0,...,X m may be written as the union of a countable number of disjoint elementary events A = A k. k= 6

11 The desired identity (.) follows by summing the corresponding identities for the A k..4 Class structure It is sometimes possible to break a Markov chain into smaller pieces, each of which is relatively easy to understand, and which together give an understanding of the whole. This is done by identifying communicating classes of the chain. Recall the initial example. 7 / / / / / / /4 /4 / We say that i leads to j and write i j if P i (X n = j for some n 0) > 0. We say i communicates with j and write i j if both i j and j i. Theorem.4. For distinct states i and j the following are equivalent. (i) i j; (ii) p i0i p ii p in i n > 0 for some states i 0,i,...,i n, where n, i 0 = i and i n = j; (iii) p (n) ij > 0 for some n. Proof. Observe that p (n) ij P i (X n = j for some n 0) which proves the equivalence of (i) and (iii). Also, p (n) ij = p i0i p ii p in j i,...,i n so that (ii) and (iii) are equivalent. 6 n=0 p (n) ij 7

12 .5 Closed classes It is clear from (ii) that i j and j k imply i k, and also that i i. So satisfies the conditions for an equivalence relation on I and so partitions I into communicating classes. We say a C is a closed class if i C, i j = j C. A closed class is one from which there is no escape. A state i is absorbing if {i} is a closed class. If C is not closed then it is open and there exist i C and j C with i j (you can escape). Example.5. Find the classes in P and say whether they are open or closed. P = The solution is obvious from the diagram. The classes are {,,3}, {4} and {5,6}, with only {5,6} being closed..6 Irreducibility A chain or transition matrix P in which I is a single class is called irreducible. It is easy to detect. We just have to check that i j for every i,j. 8

13 3 Hitting probabilities and mean hitting times 3. Absorption probabilities and mean hitting times Example 3.. P = ( ) p p 0 Let us calculate probability of absorption in state. P (hit ) = P(hit at time n) = ( p) n p =. n= n= Similarly can find mean time to hit state : E (time to hit ) = np(hit at time n) n= = n( p) n p = p d ( p) n = dp p. n= Alternatively, set h = P (hit ), k = E (time to hit ). Conditional on the first step, h = ( p)p (hit X = )+pp (hit X = ) = ( p)h+p = h = k = +( p)k +p.0 = k = /p. 3. Calculation of hitting probabilities and mean hitting times Let (X n ) n 0 be a Markov chain with transition matrix P. The first hitting time of a subset A of I is the random variable H A : Ω {0,,...} { } given by n=0 H A (ω) = inf{n 0 : X n (ω) A) where we agree that the infimum of the empty set is. The probability starting from i that (X n ) n 0 ever hits A is h A i = P i (H A < ). When A is a closed class, h A i is called an absorption probability. The mean hitting time for (X n ) n 0 reaching A is given by k A i = E i (H A ) = n< np i (H A = n)+ P(H A = ). Informally, h A i = P i (hit A), k A i = E i (time to hit A). Remarkably, these quantities can be calculated from certain simple linear equations. Let us consider an example. 9

14 Example 3.. Symmetric random walk on the integers 0,,,3, with absorption at 0 and 3. / / 0 / 3 / Starting from, what is the probability of absorption at 3? How long does it take until the chain is absorbed in 0 or 3? Let h i = P i (hit 3), k i = E i (time to hit {0,3}). Clearly, h 0 = 0 h = h 0 + h k 0 = 0 k = + k 0 + k h = h + h 3 h 3 = k = + k + k 3 k 3 = 0 These are easily solved to give h = /3, h = /3, and k = k =. Example 3.3 (Gambler s ruin on 0,...,N). Asymmetric random walk on the integers 0,,...,N, with absorption at 0 and N. 0 < p = q <. p p p p p 0 i- i i+ N- N q q q q q Let h i = P i (hit 0). So h 0 =, h N = 0 and h i = qh i +ph i+, i N. Characteristic equation is px x + q = (x )(px q) so roots are {,q/p} and if p q general solution is h i = A+B(q/p) i. Using boundary conditions we find h i = (q/p)i (q/p) N (q/p) N. If p = q general solution is h i = A + Bi and using boundary conditions we get h i = i/n. Similarly, you should be able to show that if p = q, k i = E i (time to hit {0,N}) = i(n i). 0

15 3.3 Absorption probabilities are minimal solutions to RHEs For a finite state space, as examples thus far, the equations have a unique solution. But if I is infinite there may be many solutions. The absorption probabilities are given by the minimal solution. Theorem 3.4. The vector of hitting probabilities h A = (h A i : i I) is the minimal non-negative solution to the system of linear equations { h A i = for i A h A i = j p ijh A (3.) j for i A (Minimality means that if x = (x i : i I) is another solution with x i 0 then x i h i for all i.) We call (3.) a set of right hand equations (RHEs) because h A occurs on the r.h.s. of P in h A = Ph A (where P is the matrix obtained by deleting rows for which i A). Proof. First we show that h A satisfies (3.). If X 0 = i A, then H A = 0, so h A i =. If X 0 A, then H A, so by the Markov property h A i = P i (H A < ) = j I P i (H A <,X = j) = j I P i (H A < X = j)p i (X = j) = j I p ij h A j ( as Pi (H A < X = j) = P j (H A < ) = h A ) j. Suppose now that x = (x i : i I) is any solution to (3.). Then h A i = x i = for i A. Suppose i A, then x i = j p ij x j = j A p ij x j + j Ap ij x j. Substitute for x j to obtain x i = p ij + p ij p jk + p jk x k j A j A k A k A = P i (X A)+P i (X A,X A)+ By repeated substitution for x in the final terms we obtain j,k A p ij p jk x k x i = P i (X A)+P i (X A,X A)+ +P i (X A,X,...,X n A,X n A) + p ij p jj p jn j n x jn. j,...,j n A So since x jn is non-negative, x i P i (H A n). This implies x i lim n P i(h A n) = P i (H A < ) = h i.

16 Notice that if we try to use this theorem to solve Example 3. then (3.) does not provide the information that h 0 = 0 since the second part of (3.) only says h 0 = h 0. However, h 0 = 0 follows from the minimality condition. ts 3.4 Gambler s ruin Example 3.5 (Gambler s ruin on 0,,...). 0 < p = q <. p p p p 0 i i i+ q q q q The transition probabilities are p 00 =, p i,i = q, p i,i+ = p for i =,,... Set h i = P i (hit 0), then it is the minimal non-negative solution to h 0 =, h i = ph i+ +qh i for i =,,... If p q this recurrence has general solution h i = A+A(q/p) i. We know by Theorem 3.4 that the minimal solution is h, a distribution on {0,,...}. If p < q then the fact that 0 h i for all i forces A = 0. So h i = for all i. If p > q then in seeking a minimal solution we will wish to take A as large as possible, consistent with h i 0 for all i. So A =, and h i = (q/p) i. Finally, if p = q = / the recurrence relation has a general solution h i = +Bi, and the restriction 0 h i forces B = 0. Thus h i = for all i. So even if you find a fair casino you are certain to end up broke. This apparent paradox is called gambler s ruin.

17 4 Survival probability for birth and death chains, stopping times and strong Markov property 4. Survival probability for birth death chains Example 4.. Birth and death chains. Consider the Markov chain with diagram p p i p i 0 i i i+ q q i q i+ where, for i =,,..., we have 0 < p i = q i <. State i is that in which a population is i. As in previous examples, 0 is an absorbing state and we wish to calculate the absorption probability starting from state i. So now h i = P i (hit 0) is the extinction probability starting from state i. We write down the usual system of r.h. equations h 0 =, h i = p i h i+ +q i h i for i =,,... This recurrence relation has variable coefficients so the usual technique fails. But consider u i = h i h i. Then p i u i+ = q i u i, so ( ) ( ) qi qi q i q u i+ = u i = u = γ i u p i p i p i p where the final equality defines γ i. Then so u + +u i = h 0 h i h i = u (γ 0 + +γ i ) where γ 0 =. At this point u remains to be determined. Since we know h is the minimal solution to the right hand equations, we want to choose u to be as large as possible. In the case i=0 γ i =, the restriction 0 h i forces u = h = 0 and h i = for all i. But if i=0 γ i < then we can take u > 0 so long as u (γ 0 + +γ i ) 0 for all i. Thus the minimal non-negative solution occurs when u = ( i=0 γ i) and then / h i = γ j γ j. j=i In this case, for i =,,..., we have h i <, so the population survives with positive probability. j=0 3

18 4. Mean hitting times are minimal solutions to RHEs A similar result to Theorem 3.4 can be proved for mean hitting times. Theorem 4.. The vector of mean hitting times k A = (ki A : i I) is the minimal non-negative solution to the system of linear equations { k A i = 0 for i A ki A = + j p ijkj A (4.) for i A Proof. First we show that k A satisfies (4.). If X 0 = i A, then H A = 0, so k A i = 0. If X 0 A, then H A, so by the Markov property t= E i (H A X = j) = +E j (H A ) = +k A j and so for i A, ki A = P(H A t) = P(H A t X = j)p i (X = j) = j I t= j I P(H A t X = j)p i (X = j) t= = j I E i (H A X = j)p i (X = j) = j I p ij (+k A j ) = + j I p ij k A j In the second line abovewe use the fact that we can swap t and j I for countable sums (Fubini s theorem). Suppose now that y = (y i : i I) is any solution to (4.). Then ki A = y i = 0 for i A. Suppose i A, then y i = + j Ap ij y j = + p ij + p jk y k j A k A = P i (H A )+P i (H A )+ By repeated substitution we obtain y i = P i (H A )+ +P i (H A n)+ j,k A j,...,j n A p ij p jk y k. p ij p jj p jn j n y jn. 4

19 So since y jn is non-negative y i lim n [P i(h A )+ +P i (H A n)] = E i (H A ) = k A i. 4.3 Stopping times The Markov property says that for each time m, conditional on X m = i, the process after time m is a Markov chain that begins afresh from i. What if we simply waited for the process to hit state i at some random time H? ArandomvariableT : Ω {0,,,...} { }iscalledastoppingtimeiftheevent {T = n} depends only on X 0,...,X n for n = 0,,,.... Alternatively, T is a stopping time if {T = n} F n for all n, where this means {T = n} {(X 0,...,X n ) B n } for some B n I n+. Intuitively, this means that by watching the process you can tell when T occurs. If asked to stop at T you know when to stop. Examples The hitting time: H i = inf{n 0 : X n = i} is a stopping time.. T = H i + is a stopping time. 3. T = H i is not a stopping time. 4. T = L i = sup{n 0 : X n = i} is not a stopping time. 4.4 Strong Markov property Theorem 4.4 (Strong Markov property). Let (X n ) n 0 be Markov(λ,P) and let T be a stopping time of (X n ) n 0. Then conditional on T < and X T = i, (X T+n ) n 0 is Markov(δ i,p) and independent of the random variables X 0,X i,...,x T. Proof (not examinable). If B is an event determined by X 0,X,...,X T then B {T = m} is an event determined by X 0,X,...,X m, so, by the Markov property at time m, P({X T = j 0,X T+ = j,...,x T+n = j n } B {T = m} {X T = i}) = P i ({X 0 = j 0,X = j,...,x n = j n })P(B {T = m} {X T = i}) where we have used the condition T = m to replace m by T. Now sum over m = 0,,,... and divide by P(T <,X T = i) to obtain P({X T = j 0,X T+ = j,...,x T+n = j n } B T <,X T = i) = P i ({X 0 = j 0,X = j,...,x n = j n })P(B T <,X T = i). 5

20 Example 4.5 (Gambler s ruin again). 0 < p = q <. p p p p 0 i i i+ q q q q Let h i = P i (hit 0). Then h = ph +q h = h. The fact that h = h is explained as follows. Firstly, by the strong Markov property we have that P (hit 0) = P (hit )P (hit 0). This is because any path which starts in state and eventually hits state 0 must at some first time hit state, and then from state reach state 0. Secondly, P (hit ) = P (hit 0). This is because paths that go from to are in one-to-one correspondence with paths that go from to 0 (just shifted to the right). So P (hit 0) = P (hit 0). So h = ph +q and this implies h = or = q/p. We take the minimal solution. Similarly, let k i = E i (time to hit 0). Assuming q > p, = k = /( p) = /(q p). k = +pk k = k (by strong Markov property) 6

21 5 Recurrence and transience 5. Recurrence and transience Let (X n ) n 0 be a Markov chain with transition matrix P. Define H i = inf{n 0 : X n = i} = hitting time on i T i = inf{n : X n = i} = first passage time to i. Note that H i and T i differ only if X 0 = i. Let V i = {Xn=i} = number of visits to i n=0 f i = P i (T i < ) = return probability to i m i = E i (T i ) = mean return time to i. We say that i is recurrent if P i (V i = ) =. Otherwise i is transient. A recurrent state is one that one you keep coming back to. A transient state is one that you eventually leave forever. In fact, as we shortly see, P i (V i = ) can only take the values 0 and (not, say, /). 5. Equivalence of recurrence and certainty of return Lemma 5.. For all k 0, P i (V i k +) = (f i ) k. Proof. This is true for k = 0. Assume it is true for k. The kth visit to i is a stopping time, so by the strong Markov property P i (V i k +) = P i (V i k + V i k)p i (V i k) = P i (T i < )(f i ) k = (f i ) k. Hence the lemma holds by induction. Theorem 5.. We have the dichotomy Proof. Observe that P i (V i < ) = P i ( k ) {V i = k} = i is recurrent f i = i is transient f i <. P i (V i = k) = ( f i )f k k= So i is recurrent iff f i =, and transient iff f i <. k= i = { 0, f i =,, f i <. 7

22 5.3 Equivalence of transience and summability of n-step transition probabilities Theorem 5.3. We have the dichotomy i is recurrent i is transient n=0 n=0 p (n) ii = f i = p (n) ii < f i <. Proof. If i is recurrent, this means P i (V i = ) =, and so ( p (n) ( ) ) ii = E i {Xn=i} = Ei {Xn=i} = E i (V i ) =. n=0 n=0 n=0 If i is transient then (by Theorem 5.) f i < and n=0 p (n) ii = E i (V i ) = P i (V i > r) = r=0 r=0 f r i = f i <. 5.4 Recurrence as a class property Now we can show that recurrence and transience are class properties. Theorem 5.4. Let C be a communicating class. Then either all states in C are transient or all are recurrent. Proof. Take any pair of states i,j C and suppose that i is transient. There exists n,m 0 with p (n) ij > 0 and p (m) ji > 0, and, for all r 0, so r=0 p (n+m+r) ii p (r) jj and so j is transient by Theorem 5.3 p (n) ij p(r) jj p(m) ji p (n) ij p(m) ji r=0 p (n+m+r) ii < In the light of this theorem it is natural to speak of a recurrent or transient class. 8

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