Saturday, 12 March 2011

Dynamical system

A dynamical system is a concept in mathematics where a fixed rule describes the time dependence of a point in a geometrical space. Examples include the mathematical models that describe the swinging of a clock pendulum, the flow of water in a pipe, and the number of fish each spring in a lake.

At any given time a dynamical system has a state given by a set of real numbers (a vector) which can be represented by a point in an appropriate state space (a geometrical manifold). Small changes in the state of the system correspond to small changes in the numbers. The evolution rule of the dynamical system is a fixed rule that describes what future states follow from the current state. The rule is deterministic; in other words, for a given time interval only one future state follows from the current state.

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