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Université d'Angers - L003
The Milnor-Thurston determinant and the Ruelle transfer operator.
The topological entropy $\htop$ of a continuous piecewise monotone interval map measures the exponential growth in the number of monotonicity intervals for iteratesof the map. Milnor and Thurston showed that $\exp(-\htop)$ is the smallest zero of an analytic function, now coined the Milnor-Thurston determinant, that keeps track of relative positions of forward orbits of critical points. On the other hand $\exp(\htop)$ equals the spectral radius of a Ruelle transfer operator $L$, associated with the map. Iterates of $L$ keep track of inverse orbits of the map. For no obvious reason, a Fredholm determinant for the transfer operator has not only the same leading zero as the M-T determinant but all peripheral (those lying in the unit disk) zeros are the same. In the talk I will show that on a suitable function space, the dual of the Ruelle transfer operator has a regularized determinant, identical to the Milnor-Thurston determinant, hereby providing a natural explanation for the above puzzle. This work was inspired by a collaboration with Tan Lei in 2014.