Home/Butterfly Effect

The term butterfly effect is a popular term used to refer to the phenomenon of sensitivity to initial conditions, which describes how small changes in the input values to a system can result in widely divergent outcomes over time due to compounding feedback loops as the system develops. The term is purported to derive from the title of a speech given by Edward Lorenz called: “Does the flap of a butterfly’s wings in Brazil set off a tornado in Texas?” The flapping wing represents a small change in the initial conditions of the system, which causes a chain of events leading to some large-scale phenomenon as the outcome. The butterfly effect is a fundamental feature of nonlinear systems due to the presence of feedback loops.