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Metastability in the Furstenberg-Zimmer Tower

By Jeremy Avigad and Henry Towsner

Abstract

According to the Furstenberg-Zimmer structure theorem, every measure-preserving system has a maximal distal factor, and is weak mixing relative to that factor. Furstenberg and Katznelson used this structural analysis of measure-preserving systems to provide a perspicuous proof of Szemerédi’s theorem. Beleznay and Foreman showed that, in general, the transfinite construction of the maximal distal factor of a separable measure-preserving system can extend arbitrarily far into the countable ordinals. Here we show that the Furstenberg-Katznelson proof does not require the full strength of the maximal distal factor, in the sense that the proof only depends on a combinatorial weakening of its properties. We show that this combinatorially weaker property obtains fairly low in the transfinite construction, namely, by the ωωω th level

Year: 2009
OAI identifier: oai:CiteSeerX.psu:10.1.1.359.4706
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