Any system in which the data points coming from the measurement of the values of its variables can be represented as a curvilinear pattern on a coordinate plane; hence, "nonlinear" for "not-a-line." More generally, a system in which small changes can result in large effects, and large changes in small effects. Thus, sensitive dependence on initial conditions (see butterfly effect) in chaotic systems illustrates the extreme nonlinearity of these systems. In a nonlinear system the components are interactive, interdependent, and exhibit feedback effects.
Related category CHAOS, COMPLEXITY, AND DYNAMICAL SYSTEMS
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