Contractions in the 2-Wasserstein Length Space and Thermalization of Granular Media
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An algebraic decay rate is derived which bounds the time required for velocities to equilibrate in a spatially homogeneous flow-through model representing the continuum limit of a gas of particles interacting through slightly inelastic collisions. This rate is obtained by reformulating the dynamical problem as the gradient flow of a convex energy on an infinite-dimensional manifold. An abstract theory is developed for gradient flows in length spaces, which shows how degenerate convexity (or even non-convexity) — if uniformly controlled — will quantify contractivity (limit expansivity) of the flow.
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