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Citations and bibliography updated.

Updated on 04 Nov 2013. The previous version of this content can be found here.
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date: 21 September 2017

Abstract and Keywords

Chaos theory and complexity theory, collectively known as nonlinear dynamics or dynamical systems theory, provide a mathematical framework for thinking about change over time. Chaos theory seeks an understanding of simple systems that may change in a sudden, unexpected, or irregular way. Complexity theory focuses on complex systems involving numerous interacting parts, which often give rise to unexpected order. The framework that encompasses both theories is one of nonlinear interactions between variables that give rise to outcomes that are not easily predictable. This entry provides a nonmathematical introduction, discussion of current research, and references for further reading.

Keywords: agent-based models, chaos theory, complexity theory, dynamical systems, nonlinear dynamics, system dynamics

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