Motivated by the occurrence in rate functions of time-dependent large-deviation principles, we study a class of non-negative functions $\mathscr L$ that induce a flow, given by $\mathscr L(\rho_t,\dot\rho_t)=0$. We derive necessary and sufficient conditions for the unique existence of a generalized gradient structure for the induced flow, as well as explicit formulas for the corresponding driving entropy and dissipation functional. In particular, we show how these conditions can be given a probabilistic interpretation when $\mathscr L$ is associated to the large deviations of a microscopic particle system. Finally, we illustrate the theory for independent Brownian particles with drift, which leads to the entropy-Wasserstein gradient structure, and for independent Markovian particles on a finite state space, which leads to a previously unknown gradient structure.
|Number of pages||37|
|Publication status||Published - 2013|