k-contraction: Theory and applications

Chengshuai Wu, Ilya Kanevskiy, Michael Margaliot*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


A dynamical system is called contractive if any two solutions approach one another at an exponential rate. More precisely, the dynamics contracts lines at an exponential rate. This property implies highly ordered asymptotic behavior including entrainment to time-varying periodic vector fields and, in particular, global asymptotic stability for time-invariant vector fields. Contraction theory has found numerous applications in systems and control theory because there exist easy to verify sufficient conditions, based on matrix measures, guaranteeing contraction. We provide a geometric generalization of contraction theory called k-contraction. A dynamical system is called k-contractive if the dynamics contracts k-parallelotopes at an exponential rate. For k=1 this reduces to standard contraction. We describe easy to verify sufficient conditions for k-contraction based on a matrix measure of the kth additive compound of the Jacobian of the vector field. We also describe applications of the seminal work of Muldowney and Li, that can be interpreted in the framework of 2-contraction, to systems and control theory.

Original languageEnglish
Article number110048
StatePublished - Feb 2022


FundersFunder number
Israel Science Foundation


    • Compound matrices
    • Contraction analysis
    • Entrainment
    • Matrix measures
    • Stability
    • Variational equation


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