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Deterministic system

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In mathematics and physics, a deterministic system is a system in which no randomness is involved in the development of future states of the system.[1] A deterministic model will thus always produce the same output from a given starting condition or initial state.[2]


Physical laws that are described by differential equations represent deterministic systems, even though the state of the system at a given point in time may be difficult to describe explicitly.

The systems studied in chaos theory are deterministic. If the initial state were known exactly, then the future state of such a system could be predicted. However, in practice, knowledge about the future state is limited by the precision with which the initial state can be measured.

Markov chains and other random walks are not deterministic systems, because their development depends on random choices.

A pseudorandom number generator is a deterministic algorithm, although its evolution is deliberately made hard to predict; a hardware random number generator, however, may be non-deterministic.

See also Edit


  1. deterministic system - definition at The Internet Encyclopedia of Science
  2. Dynamical systems at Scholarpedia

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