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# Probing the edge of chaos: How do variable physical characteristics behave at the point preceding onset of chaos?

Date:
February 27, 2014
Source:
Summary:
The edge of chaos -- right before chaos sets in -- is a unique place. It is found in many dynamical systems that cross the boundary between a well-behaved dynamics and a chaotic one. Now, physicists have shown that the distribution -- or frequency of occurrence -- of the variables constituting the physical characteristics of such systems at the edge of chaos has a very different shape than previously reported distributions. This could help us better understand natural phenomena with a chaotic nature.

The edge of chaos-right before chaos sets in-is a unique place. It is found in many dynamical systems that cross the boundary between a well-behaved dynamics and a chaotic one. Now, physicists have shown that the distribution-or frequency of occurrence-of the variables constituting the physical characteristics of such systems at the edge of chaos has a very different shape than previously reported distributions. The results, by Miguel Angel Fuentes from the Santa Fe Institute in New Mexico, USA, and Universidad del Desarrollo, Chile, and Alberto Robledo from the National Autonomous University of Mexico, Mexico City, are published in The European Physical Journal B. This could help us better understand natural phenomena with a chaotic nature.

In probability theory, the central limit theorem was first developed by an 18th century French mathematician named Abraham de Moivre. It applies to independent random physical quantities or variables, each with a well-defined expected value and well-defined way of varying. This theorem states that once iterated a sufficiently large number of times, these variable physical quantities will be approximately distributed along a central limit-also referred to as the attractor. In chaotic and standard random systems, such distribution is in the shape of a bell curve.

Now, new central limit theorems are emerging for more complex physical processes, such as natural phenomena. In this study, the authors took existing knowledge of the specific position of the attractor at the edge of chaos. To do so, they employed a mathematical formula called the logistic map as a particular example of the dynamic system under study. They found that the distribution of physical properties of such dynamic systems at this specific point at the edge of chaos has a fractal structure not previously known.

Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Springer Science+Business Media. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.

Journal Reference:

1. Miguel Angel Fuentes, Alberto Robledo. Sums of variables at the onset of chaos. The European Physical Journal B, 2014; 87 (2) DOI: 10.1140/epjb/e2014-40882-1

Springer Science+Business Media. "Probing the edge of chaos: How do variable physical characteristics behave at the point preceding onset of chaos?." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 27 February 2014. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/02/140227092014.htm>.
Springer Science+Business Media. (2014, February 27). Probing the edge of chaos: How do variable physical characteristics behave at the point preceding onset of chaos?. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 22, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/02/140227092014.htm
Springer Science+Business Media. "Probing the edge of chaos: How do variable physical characteristics behave at the point preceding onset of chaos?." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/02/140227092014.htm (accessed July 22, 2014).

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