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The sum of log-normal variates in geometric Brownian motion

Ole Peters and Alexander Adamou

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Abstract: Geometric Brownian motion (GBM) is a key model for representing self-reproducing entities. Self-reproduction may be considered the definition of life [5], and the dynamics it induces are of interest to those concerned with living systems from biology to economics. Trajectories of GBM are distributed according to the well-known log-normal density, broadening with time. However, in many applications, what's of interest is not a single trajectory but the sum, or average, of several trajectories. The distribution of these objects is more complicated. Here we show two different ways of finding their typical trajectories. We make use of an intriguing connection to spin glasses: the expected free energy of the random energy model is an average of log-normal variates. We make the mapping to GBM explicit and find that the free energy result gives qualitatively correct behavior for GBM trajectories. We then also compute the typical sum of lognormal variates using Ito calculus. This alternative route is in close quantitative agreement with numerical work.

Date: 2018-02
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