Ergodic Theory and Dynamical Systems

Research Article

Automorphisms of compact groups

Bruce Kitchensa1 and Klaus Schmidta2

a1 Mathematical Sciences Department, IBM T. J. Watson Research Center, Yorktown Heights, NY, USA

a2 Mathematics Institute, University of Warwick, Coventry, UK


We study finitely generated, abelian groups Γ of continuous automorphisms of a compact, metrizable group X and introduce the descending chain condition for such pairs (X, Γ). If Γ acts expansively on X then (X, Γ) satisfies the descending chain condition, and (X, Γ) satisfies the descending chain condition if and only if it is algebraically and topologically isomorphic to a closed, shift-invariant subgroup of GΓ, where G is a compact Lie group. Furthermore every such subgroup of GΓ is a (higher dimensional) Markov shift whose alphabet is a compact Lie group. By using the descending chain condition we prove, for example, that the set of Γ-periodic points is dense in X whenever Γ acts expansively on X. Furthermore, if X is a compact group and (X, Γ) satisfies the descending chain condition, then every ergodic element of Γ has a dense set of periodic points. Finally we give an algebraic description of pairs (X, Γ) satisfying the descending chain condition under the assumption that X is abelian.

(Received September 24 1987)

(Revised August 09 1988)