Edited by Jeremy Gunawardena
Foreword by John M. Taylor
Foreword by Michael Atiyah
Publications of the Newton Institute (No. 11)
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print Publication Year: 1998
Online Publication Date:May 2010
Chapter DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1017/CBO9780511662508.026
This paper is devoted to heuristic aspects of the so-called idempotent calculus. There is a correspondence between important, useful and interesting constructions and results over the field of real (or complex) numbers and similar constructions and results over idempotent semirings, in the spirit of N. Bohr's correspondence principle in Quantum Mechanics. Idempotent analogs for some basic ideas, constructions and results in Functional Analysis and Mathematical Physics are discussed from this point of view. Thus the correspondence principle is a powerful heuristic tool to apply unexpected analogies and ideas borrowed from different areas of Mathematics and Theoretical Physics.
It is very important that some problems nonlinear in the traditional sense (for example, the Bellman equation and its generalizations and the Hamilton–Jacobi equation) turn out to be linear over a suitable semiring; this linearity considerably simplifies the explicit construction of solutions. In this case we have a natural analog of the so-called superposition principle in Quantum Mechanics (see –).
The theory is well advanced and includes, in particular, new integration theory, new linear algebra, spectral theory and functional analysis. Applications include various optimization problems such as multicriteria decision making, optimization on graphs, discrete optimization with a large parameter (asymptotic problems), optimal design of computer systems and computer media, optimal organization of parallel data processing, dynamic programming, discrete event systems, computer science, discrete mathematics, mathematical logic and so on. See, for example, –. Let us indicate some applications of these ideas in mathematical physics and biophysics –.
In this paper the correspondence principle is used to develop an approach to object-oriented software and hardware design for algorithms of idempotent calculus and scientific calculations.