Chaos theory  

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Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel
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Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel

In mathematics, chaos theory describes the behavior of certain dynamical systems – that is, systems whose state evolves with time – that may exhibit dynamics that are highly sensitive to initial conditions (popularly referred to as the butterfly effect). As a result of this sensitivity, which manifests itself as an exponential growth of perturbations in the initial conditions, the behavior of chaotic systems appears to be random. This happens even though these systems are deterministic, meaning that their future dynamics are fully defined by their initial conditions, with no random elements involved. This behavior is known as deterministic chaos, or simply chaos.

Chaotic behaviour is also observed in natural systems, such as the weather. This may be explained by a chaos-theoretical analysis of a mathematical model of such a system, embodying the laws of physics that are relevant for the natural system.

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Examples of chaotic systems

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Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "Chaos theory" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on original research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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