Departmental Papers (ESE)


The reduction of dynamical systems has a rich history, with many important applications related to stability, control and verification. Reduction of nonlinear systems is typically performed in an "exact" manner - as is the case with mechanical systems with symmetry - which, unfortunately, limits the type of systems to which it can be applied. The goal of this paper is to consider a more general form of reduction, termed approximate reduction, in order to extend the class of systems that can be reduced. Using notions related to incremental stability, we give conditions on when a dynamical system can be projected to a lower dimensional space while providing hard bounds on the induced errors, i.e., when it is behaviorally similar to a dynamical system on a lower dimensional space. These concepts are illustrated on a series of examples.

Document Type

Journal Article

Subject Area


Date of this Version

July 2008


Postprint version. Published in Systems and Control Letters, Volume 57, Issue 7, July 2008, pages 538-545.
Publisher URL:



Date Posted: 28 July 2008

This document has been peer reviewed.