I'm looking for examples of completely integrable systems and specifically geodesic flows. We remember that when we have a symplectic manifold $(M,\omega)$ (with $M$ of dimension $2n$) and $H:M\rightarrow\mathbb{R}$ a smooth function, its symplectic gradient is the unique field $X_H$ over $M$ satisfying


and we say that the system $(M,\omega,H)$ is completely integrable is there exists $f_1,\ldots,f_{n-1}:M\rightarrow\mathbb{R}$ smooth functions Poisson commuting: $\{f_i,f_j\}=\{f_k,H\}=0$, where $\{f,g\}=\omega(X_f,X_g)$, and with $\textrm{d}f_1,\ldots,\textrm{d}f_{n-1},\textrm{d}H$ linearly independent in a dense set of $M$.

In the cotangent bundle $T^*M$ of a manifold $M$, there exists a canonical symplectic form,


$(x_1,\ldots,x_n,\xi_1,\ldots,\xi_n)$ local coordinates of $T^\star M$. Then, if we consider a riemannian manifold $(M,g)$, we can canonically define a symplectic form on $TM$ with the bundle isomorphism $\Phi:TM\rightarrow T^\star M$ given by


where $v^*(w)=g(v,w)$ is the Riesz representation of a functional. Hence we can define $\omega=\Phi^{\star}\omega_\textrm{can}$. In this way, the geodesic flow can be viewed as the flow of the symplectic gradient of the metric hamiltonian $H(p,v)=\frac{1}{2}g_p(v,v)$. Then my question is if the geodesic flow on the tangent bundle of the hyperbolic plane is completely integrable and, if yes, what is the another function beside the metric hamiltonian $H$. Any help will be appreciated.

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    $\begingroup$ Another example of a completely integrable geodesic flow is provided by peakon solutions of the Camassa–Holm shallow water equation; they give the geodesics for the manifold $\{ x_1 < x_2 < \dots < x_n \} \subset \mathbb{R}^n$ with inverse metric tensor $g^{ij}=\exp(-|x_i-x_j|)$. $\endgroup$ Apr 22, 2012 at 22:21

1 Answer 1


Yes, the geodesic flow on the hyperbolic plane is completely integrable.

A complete system of independent and Poisson-commuting first integrals is given by: $$H_1=\frac{x'^2+y'^2}{y^2},$$ $$H_2=\frac{x'}{y^2}.$$ Obviously $H_1$ is the kinetical energy.
Instead the constant of motion $H_2$ is geometrically interpreted by means of the following fact:

the constant of motion $-H_1^{-1/2}H_2$ describes the euclidean curvature of the geodesics for the hyperbolic plane.

You could find interesting this set of notes. It shows two examples of completely integrable geodesic flows: the one on the hyperbolic plane and the other on the revolution surfaces; it appears to me to be enough detailed.


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