Is My System of ODEs k-Cooperative?

Eyal Weiss, Michael Margaliot*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations


A linear dynamical system is called positive if its flow maps the non-negative orthant to itself. More precisely, it maps the set of vectors with zero sign variations to itself. A linear dynamical system is called k -positive if its flow maps the set of vectors with up to k-1 sign variations to itself. A nonlinear dynamical system is called k -cooperative if its variational system, which is a time-varying linear dynamical system, is k -positive. These systems have special asymptotic properties. For example, it was recently shown that strong 2-cooperative systems satisfy a strong Poincaré-Bendixson property. Positivity and k -positivity are easy to verify in terms of the sign-pattern of the matrix in the dynamics. However, these sign conditions are not invariant under a coordinate transformation. A natural question is to determine if a given n -dimensional system is k -positive up to a coordinate transformation. We study this problem for two special kinds of transformations: permutations and scaling by a signature matrix. For any ngeq 4 and kin {2, {dots }, n-2} , we provide a graph-theoretic necessary and sufficient condition for k -positivity up to such coordinate transformations. We describe an application of our results to a specific class of Lotka-Volterra systems.

Original languageEnglish
Article number9107214
Pages (from-to)73-78
Number of pages6
JournalIEEE Control Systems Letters
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2021


FundersFunder number
U.S.-Israel Binational Science Foundation
Israel Science Foundation


    • Positive systems
    • graph theory
    • invariant sets
    • k-cooperative systems


    Dive into the research topics of 'Is My System of ODEs k-Cooperative?'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

    Cite this