Prof. Wolf's Paper in Chaos Theory Continues to be Widely Cited
March 01, 2015
Professor Alan Wolf's classic paper in Chaos Theory continues to be widely cited - 6000+ citations and counting!
We present the first algorithms that allow the estimation of non-negative Lyapunov exponents from an experimental time series. Lyapunov exponents, which provide a qualitative and quantitative characterization of dynamical behavior, are related to the exponentially fast divergence or convergence of nearby orbits in phase space. A system with one or more positive Lyapunov exponents is defined to be chaotic. Our method is rooted conceptually in a previously developed technique that could only be applied to analytically defined model systems: we monitor the long-term growth rate of small volume elements in an attractor. The method is tested on model systems with known Lyapunov spectra, and applied to data for the Belousov-Zhabotinskii reaction and Couette-Taylor flow.