For simple parabolic or hyperbolic differential equations, a discrete renormalisation (semi)group acting on their solutions has been defined in the following way [67, 24, 32, 33]: Evolve initial data over a certain finite time interval, then rescale the final data in a certain way. Solutions which are fixed points under this transformation are scale-invariant, and may be attractors. One nice distinctive feature of GR as opposed to these simple models is that one can use a shift freedom in GR (one that points inward towards an accumulation point) to incorporate the rescaling into the time evolution, and the lapse freedom to make each rescaling by a constant factor an evolution through a constant time (, in our notation) interval.

The crucial distinctive feature of general relativity,
however, is that a solution does not correspond to a unique
trajectory in the space of initial data. This is because a
spacetime can be sliced in different ways, and on each slice one
can have different coordinate systems. Infinitesimally, this
slicing and coordinate freedom is parameterized by the lapse and
shift. In a relaxed notation, one can write the ADM equations as
functional
, where
*g*
is the 3-metric,
*K*
the extrinsic curvature,
the lapse and
the shift. The lapse and shift can be set freely, independently
of the initial data. Of course they influence only the
coordinates on the spacetime, not the spacetime itself, but the
ADM equations are not yet a dynamical system. If we specify a
prescription
functional (*g*,
*K*), then substituting it into the ADM equations, we obtain
functional (*g*,
*K*), which is an (infinite-dimensional) dynamical system. We are
then faced with the general question: Given initial data in
general relativity, is there a prescription for the lapse and
shift, such that, if these are in fact data for a self-similar
solution, the resulting time evolution actively drives the metric
to the special form (28) that explicitly displays the self-similarity?

An algebraic prescription for the lapse suggested by Garfinkle [59] did not work, but maximal slicing with zero shift does work [64] if combined with a manual rescaling of space. Garfinkle and Gundlach [62] have suggested several combinations of lapse and shift conditions that not only leave CSS spacetimes invariant, but also turn the Choptuik DSS spacetime into a limit cycle. The combination of maximal slicing with minimal strain shift has the nice property that it also turns static spacetimes into fixed points (and probably periodic spacetimes into limit cycles). Maximal slicing requires the first slice to be maximal (), but other prescriptions allow for an arbitrary initial slice with arbitrary spatial coordinates. All these coordinate conditions are elliptic equations that require boundary conditions, and will turn CSS spacetimes into fixed points only for correct boundary conditions. Roughly speaking, these boundary conditions require a guess of how far the slice is from the accumulation point , and answers to this problem only exist in spherical symmetry.

Critical Phenomena in Gravitational Collapse
Carsten Gundlach
http://www.livingreviews.org/lrr-1999-4
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