Generalized Mass-Action Systems and Positive Solutions of Polynomial Equations with Real and Symbolic Exponents (Invited Talk)

  • Stefan Müller
  • Georg Regensburger
Part of the Lecture Notes in Computer Science book series (LNCS, volume 8660)


Dynamical systems arising from chemical reaction networks with mass action kinetics are the subject of chemical reaction network theory (CRNT). In particular, this theory provides statements about uniqueness, existence, and stability of positive steady states for all rate constants and initial conditions. In terms of the corresponding polynomial equations, the results guarantee uniqueness and existence of positive solutions for all positive parameters.

We address a recent extension of CRNT, called generalized mass-action systems, where reaction rates are allowed to be power-laws in the concentrations. In particular, the (real) kinetic orders can differ from the (integer) stoichiometric coefficients. As with mass-action kinetics, complex balancing equilibria are determined by the graph Laplacian of the underlying network and can be characterized by binomial equations and parametrized by monomials. In algebraic terms, we focus on a constructive characterization of positive solutions of polynomial equations with real and symbolic exponents.

Uniqueness and existence for all rate constants and initial conditions additionally depend on sign vectors of the stoichiometric and kinetic-order subspaces. This leads to a generalization of Birch’s theorem, which is robust with respect to certain perturbations in the exponents. In this context, we discuss the occurrence of multiple complex balancing equilibria.

We illustrate our results by a running example and provide a MAPLE worksheet with implementations of all algorithmic methods.


Chemical reaction network theory generalized mass-action systems generalized polynomial equations symbolic exponents positive solutions binomial equations Birch’s theorem oriented matroids multistationarity 


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Stefan Müller
    • 1
  • Georg Regensburger
    • 1
  1. 1.Johann Radon Institute for Computational and Applied Mathematics (RICAM)Austrian Academy of SciencesLinzAustria

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