Institute for Mathematical Sciences

Preprint ims98-2

V. Kaimanovich
The Poisson Formula for Groups with Hyperbolic Properties.

Abstract: The Poisson boundary of a group $G$ with a probability measure $\mu$ on it is the space of ergodic components of the time shift in the path space of the associated random walk. Via a generalization of the classical Poisson formula it gives an integral representation of bounded $\mu$-harmonic functions on $G$. In this paper we develop a new method of identifying the Poisson boundary based on entropy estimates for conditional random walks. It leads to simple purely geometric criteria of boundary maximality which bear hyperbolic nature and allow us to identify the Poisson boundary with natural topological boundaries for several classes of groups: word hyperbolic groups and discontinuous groups of isometries of Gromov hyperbolic spaces, groups with infinitely many ends, cocompact lattices in Cartan--Hadamard manifolds, discrete subgroups of semi-simple Lie groups, polycyclic groups, some wreath and semi-direct products including Baumslag--Solitar groups.
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