"Just a Small Variable in the Larger Chaos Parameter"

1 April 2010

2 apples + 2 apples = 4 apples, by definition, convention, accepted, easy to understand.

And mixed units of  \$.25 + \$.25 + \$.50 = \$1dollar. Again, easily understand.

This sort of mathematics is known as deterministic, meaning that the outcome will always be the same and it is what you are most familiar with.

Equations (simple). 2 apples + 2 apples = or equates to 4 apples.

Equations (more difficult). Volts = Current * Resistance. But again, deterministic in that the results will always be the same, given the same values for "Current" and "Resistance."

Equations (complex). A equation to determine the flight path from the earth to the moon and return. Here, the motion of the Earth in its orbit as well as the motion of the moon and gravity and many, many other parameters must be included in the equation but, once the parameters are defined, the results will always be the same. Again, a deterministic equation, problem.

But many real world events or processes are much more difficult to equation. A perfect example is weather forecasting. Millions and millions of dollars and countless man hours have been spent on complex weather forecasting equations and although prediction has gotten better and better, it is still not perfect.

Weather forecasting as well as many forecasting "equations" are mathematical models consist of defined parameters that can have a defined range of valves. For example, a weather forecasting model would have a parameter for barometric pressure and temperature, high altitude wind velocity, etc. Then given initial conditions or actual valves of all defined parameters the model equation(s) are iterated or calculated over and over, in a computer program with various parameters varying per iteration. But again, this is a deterministic system. The results given a defined set of parameters will always have the same results.

Models and computer simulations are used in many fields. Once upon a time, like when spreadsheets became common, everyone thought a model, simulation or spreadsheet would help us solve any and every problem.

However, it is very difficult to define all the parameters of any model as well as its valid data range and importance in the models results. Some parameters may have very little consequence on the models outcome if other parameters have large data valves but have  large consequences if other parameters have small data valves.

Now, look around and try to imagine that everything can be modeled.

Evolution.

Just try to think of all the possible parameters that would be involved in a human evolution model. Diet, medicines, genetic blending, solar index, water quality, etc. etc. etc. And what importance to assign each "parameter?"

Ok, a 1000 million super smart people are put on the task of developing a human evolution model. They define parameters and the importance of each in the overall "equation." And then the equation(s) are iterated over and over in a massive computer.

And the outcome, the results? How accurate, reliable? Should governments base any sort of public policy on the results of such a simulation?

Enter chaos.

No matter the number of parameters or the excellence all parameters are defined in relation to each other and the models output definitions, there will always be unforeseen parameters or valves of defined parameters will go outside defined data boundaries. Although not strictly in keeping with the definition of Chaos as defined by Chaos Theory, I want to define the Chaos parameter.

The Chaos parameter. Totally unforeseen events, factors, influences, that impact significantly.

Enter the "I" in the parameter.

I can not tell you all the life "equations" I am a part of, but I know, feel, I am part of many. As I am a father of 4 children, certainly a parameter in evolution, life, their lives, grand children, great grandchildren, genetics. But I know I am involved in other complex "equations" as well and what is even more curious is that I know I am one of several sub parameters making up a Chaos parameter or function! OR maybe I want to be a part of the Chaos function. My job is to interject the random into the system and make it oscillate just a little bit beyond where it went the last iteration.

I wonder if I am the only one who feels this way. Just a very small parameter in the Chaos function in many, many different life processes.