Wiener process

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In mathematics, the Wiener process is a continuous-time stochastic process named in honor of Norbert Wiener. It is often called Brownian motion, after Robert Brown. It is one of the best known Lévy processes (càdlàg stochastic processes with stationary independent increments) and occurs frequently in pure and applied mathematics, economics and physics.

The Wiener process plays an important role both in pure and applied mathematics. In pure mathematics, the Wiener process gave rise to the study of continuous time martingales. It is a key process in terms of which more complicated stochastic processes can be described. As such, it plays a vital role in stochastic calculus, diffusion processes and even potential theory. It is the driving process of Schramm-Loewner evolution. In applied mathematics, the Wiener process is used to represent the integral of a Gaussian white noise process, and so is useful as a model of noise in electronics engineering, instrument errors in filtering theory and unknown forces in control theory.

The Wiener process has applications throughout the mathematical sciences. In physics it is used to study Brownian motion, the diffusion of minute particles suspended in fluid, and other types of diffusion via the Fokker-Planck and Langevin equations. It also forms the basis for the rigorous path integral formulation of quantum mechanics (by the Feynman-Kac formula, a solution to the Schrödinger equation can be represented in terms of the Wiener process) and the study of eternal inflation in physical cosmology. It is also prominent in the mathematical theory of finance, in particular the Black–Scholes option pricing model.


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