We address the problem of the exact computation of two joint spectral characteristics of a family of linear operators, the joint spectral radius (JSR) and the lower spectral radius (LSR), which are well-known different generalizations to a set of operators of the usual spectral radius of a linear operator. In this paper we develop a method which—under suitable assumptions—allows us to compute the JSR and the LSR of a finite family of matrices exactly. We remark that so far no algorithm has been available in the literature to compute the LSR exactly.
The paper presents necessary theoretical results on extremal norms (and on extremal antinorms) of linear operators, which constitute the basic tools of our procedures, and a detailed description of the corresponding algorithms for the computation of the JSR and LSR (the last one restricted to families sharing an invariant cone). The algorithms are easily implemented, and their descriptions are short. If the algorithms terminate in finite time, then they construct an extremal norm (in the JSR case) or antinorm (in the LSR case) and find their exact values; otherwise, they provide upper and lower bounds that both converge to the exact values. A theoretical criterion for termination in finite time is also derived. According to numerical experiments, the algorithm for the JSR finds the exact value for the vast majority of matrix families in dimensions ≤20. For nonnegative matrices it works faster and finds the JSR in dimensions of order 100 within a few iterations; the same is observed for the algorithm computing the LSR. To illustrate the efficiency of the new method, we apply it to give answers to several conjectures which have been recently stated in combinatorics, number theory, and formal language theory.
We present a new approach for constructing polytope Lyapunov functions for continuous-time linear switching systems (LSS). This allows us to decide the stability of LSS and to compute the Lyapunov exponent with a good precision in relatively high dimensions. The same technique is also extended for stabilizability of positive systems by evaluating a polytope concave Lyapunov function (“antinorm”) in the cone. The method is based on a suitable discretization of the underlying continuous system and provides both a lower and an upper bound for the Lyapunov exponent. The absolute error in the Lyapunov exponent computation is estimated from above and proved to be linear in the dwell time. The practical efficiency of the new method is demonstrated in several examples and in the list of numerical experiments with randomly generated matrices of dimensions up to 10 (for general linear systems) and up to 100 (for positive systems). The development of the method is based on several theoretical results proved in the paper: the existence of monotone invariant norms and antinorms for positively irreducible systems, the equivalence of all contractive norms for stable systems and the linear convergence theorem.