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Chaos May Depend On Initial Conditions And Attractors

It is now understood that chaotic behavior may be characterized by sensitive dependence on initial conditions and attractors (including, but not limited to strange attractors). A particular attractor represents the behavior of the system at any given time. The actual state of any system (i.e., measured characteristics) depends upon earlier conditions. If initial conditions are changed even to a small degree the actual results for the original and altered systems become different (sometimes drastically different) over time even though the plot of the attractor for both the original and changed systems remains the same. In other words, although both systems yield different values as measured at any given time the plots of their respective attractors (i.e., the overall behavior of the system) look the same.



Gleick, James. Chaos: Making a New Science. New York: Viking, 1987.

Prigogine, Ilya. The End of Certainty: Time, Chaos, and the New Laws of Nature New York: Free Press, 1998.


Trump, Matthew A. The University of Texas. "What is Chaos?" <http://order.ph.utexas.edu/chaos/index.html> (February 5, 2003).

Patrick Moore


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Science EncyclopediaScience & Philosophy: Categorical judgement to ChimaeraChaos - Revising The Newtonian World View, Current Research, Chaos May Depend On Initial Conditions And Attractors