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We address the problem of recognizing alpha-stable Levy distribution with Levy index close to 2 from experimental data. We are interested in the case when the sample size of available data is not large, thus the power law asymptotics of the distribution is not clearly detectable, and the shape of the empirical probability density function is close to a Gaussian. We propose a testing procedure combining a simple visual test based on empirical fourth moment with the Anderson-Darling and Jarque-Bera statistical tests and we check the efficiency of the method on simulated data. Furthermore, we apply our method to the analysis of turbulent plasma density and potential fluctuations measured in the stellarator-type fusion device and demonstrate that the phenomenon of the L-H transition from low confinement, L mode, to a high confinement, H mode, which occurs in this device is accompanied by the transition from Levy to Gaussian fluctuation statistics.

We study the properties of the probability density function (PDF) of a bistable system driven by heavy tailed white symmetric L,vy noise. The shape of the stationary PDF is found analytically for the particular case of the L,vy index alpha = 1 (Cauchy noise). For an arbitrary L,vy index we employ numerical methods based on the solution of the stochastic Langevin equation and space fractional kinetic equation. In contrast to the bistable system driven by Gaussian noise, in the L,vy case, the positions of maxima of the stationary PDF do not coincide with the positions of minima of the bistable potential. We provide a detailed study of the distance between the maxima and the minima as a function of the depth of the potential and the L,vy noise parameters.

For both Lévy flight and Lévy walk search processes we analyse the full distribution of first-passage and first-hitting (or first-arrival) times. These are, respectively, the times when the particle moves across a point at some given distance from its initial position for the first time, or when it lands at a given point for the first time. For Lévy motions with their propensity for long relocation events and thus the possibility to jump across a given point in space without actually hitting it ('leapovers'), these two definitions lead to significantly different results. We study the first-passage and first-hitting time distributions as functions of the Lévy stable index, highlighting the different behaviour for the cases when the first absolute moment of the jump length distribution is finite or infinite. In particular we examine the limits of short and long times. Our results will find their application in the mathematical modelling of random search processes as well as computer algorithms.

Based on the space-fractional Fokker-Planck equation with a delta-sink term, we study the efficiency of random search processes based on Levy flights with power-law distributed jump lengths in the presence of an external drift, for instance, an underwater current, an airflow, or simply the preference of the searcher based on prior experience. While Levy flights turn out to be efficient search processes when the target is upstream relative to the starting point, in the downstream scenario, regular Brownian motion turns out to be advantageous. This is caused by the occurrence of leapovers of Levy flights, due to which Levy flights typically overshoot a point or small interval. Studying the solution of the fractional Fokker-Planck equation, we establish criteria when the combination of the external stream and the initial distance between the starting point and the target favours Levy flights over the regular Brownian search. Contrary to the common belief that Levy flights with a Levy index alpha = 1 (i.e. Cauchy flights) are optimal for sparse targets, we find that the optimal value for alpha may range in the entire interval (1, 2) and explicitly include Brownian motion as the most efficient search strategy overall.

We address the generic problem of random search for a point-like target on a line. Using the measures of search reliability and efficiency to quantify the random search quality, we compare Brownian search with Levy search based on long-tailed jump length distributions. We then compare these results with a search process combined of two different long-tailed jump length distributions. Moreover, we study the case of multiple targets located by a Levy searcher.

A combined dynamics consisting of Brownian motion and Levy flights is exhibited by a variety of biological systems performing search processes. Assessing the search reliability of ever locating the target and the search efficiency of doing so economically of such dynamics thus poses an important problem. Here we model this dynamics by a one-dimensional fractional Fokker-Planck equation combining unbiased Brownian motion and Levy flights. By solving this equation both analytically and numerically we show that the superposition of recurrent Brownian motion and Levy flights with stable exponent alpha < 1, by itself implying zero probability of hitting a point on a line, leads to transient motion with finite probability of hitting any point on the line. We present results for the exact dependence of the values of both the search reliability and the search efficiency on the distance between the starting and target positions as well as the choice of the scaling exponent a of the Levy flight component.

It is generally believed that random search processes based on scale-free, Levy stable jump length distributions (Levy flights) optimize the search for sparse targets. Here we show that this popular search advantage is less universal than commonly assumed. We study the efficiency of a minimalist search model based on Levy flights in the absence and presence of an external drift (underwater current, atmospheric wind, a preference of the walker owing to prior experience, or a general bias in an abstract search space) based on two different optimization criteria with respect to minimal search time and search reliability (cumulative arrival probability). Although Levy flights turn out to be efficient search processes when the target is far from the starting point, or when relative to the starting point the target is upstream, we show that for close targets and for downstream target positioning regular Brownian motion turns out to be the advantageous search strategy. Contrary to claims that Levy flights with a critical exponent alpha = 1 are optimal for the search of sparse targets in different settings, based on our optimization parameters the optimal a may range in the entire interval (1, 2) and especially include Brownian motion as the overall most efficient search strategy.

We study ultraslow diffusion processes with logarithmic mean squared displacement (MSD) < x(2)(t)> similar or equal to log(gamma)t. Comparison of annealed (renewal) continuous time random walks (CTRWs) with logarithmic waiting time distribution psi(tau) similar or equal to 1/(tau log(1+gamma)tau) and Sinai diffusion in quenched random landscapes reveals striking similarities, despite the great differences in their physical nature. In particular, they exhibit a weakly non-ergodic disparity of the time-averaged and ensemble-averaged MSDs. Remarkably, for the CTRW we observe that the fluctuations of time averages become universal, with an exponential suppression of mobile trajectories. We discuss the fundamental connection between the Golosov localization effect and non-ergodicity in the sense of the disparity between ensemble-averaged MSD and time-averaged MSD.