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On the Relation between Master Equations and Random Walks and Their Solutions

### Abstract

It is shown that there is a simple relation between master equation and random walk solutions. We assume that the random walker takes steps at random times, with the time between steps governed by a probability density ψ(Δ*t*). Then, if the random walk transition probability matrix **M** and the master equation transition rate matrix **A** are related by **A** = (**M** − 1)/τ_{1}, where τ_{1} is the first moment of Ψ(*t*) and thus the average time between steps, the solutions of the random walk and the master equation approach each other at long times and are essentially equal for times much larger than the maximum of (τ* *_{n} /*n*!)^{1/n }, where τ_{ n } is the *n*th moment of ψ(*t*). For a Poissonprobability density ψ(*t*), the solutions are shown to be identical at all times. For the case where **A** ≠ (**M** − 1)/τ_{1}, the solutions of the master equation and the random walk approach each other at long times and are approximately equal for times much larger than the maximum of (τ_{ n }/*n*!)^{1/n } if the eigenvalues and eigenfunctions of **A** and (**M** − 1)/τ_{1} are approximately equal for eigenvalues close to zero.

© 1971 The American Institute of Physics

Received 18 January 1971
Published online 28 October 2003

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2003-10-28

2016-10-21

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