Chip-Firing And A Devil's Staircase

Abstract : The devil's staircase ― a continuous function on the unit interval $[0,1]$ which is not constant, yet is locally constant on an open dense set ― is the sort of exotic creature a combinatorialist might never expect to encounter in "real life.'' We show how a devil's staircase arises from the combinatorial problem of parallel chip-firing on the complete graph. This staircase helps explain a previously observed "mode locking'' phenomenon, as well as the surprising tendency of parallel chip-firing to find periodic states of small period.
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Krattenthaler, Christian and Strehl, Volker and Kauers, Manuel. 21st International Conference on Formal Power Series and Algebraic Combinatorics (FPSAC 2009), 2009, Hagenberg, Austria. Discrete Mathematics and Theoretical Computer Science, DMTCS Proceedings vol. AK, 21st International Conference on Formal Power Series and Algebraic Combinatorics (FPSAC 2009), pp.573-584, 2009, DMTCS Proceedings
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Lionel Levine. Chip-Firing And A Devil's Staircase. Krattenthaler, Christian and Strehl, Volker and Kauers, Manuel. 21st International Conference on Formal Power Series and Algebraic Combinatorics (FPSAC 2009), 2009, Hagenberg, Austria. Discrete Mathematics and Theoretical Computer Science, DMTCS Proceedings vol. AK, 21st International Conference on Formal Power Series and Algebraic Combinatorics (FPSAC 2009), pp.573-584, 2009, DMTCS Proceedings. 〈hal-01185385〉

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