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Physics & Computer Science


Given a set of experimental or numerical chaotic data and a set of model differential equations with several parameters, is it possible to determine the numerical values for these parameters using a least-squares approach, and thereby to test the model against the data? We explore this question (a) with simulated data from model equations for the Rossler, Lorenz, and pendulum attractors, and (b) with experimental data produced by a physical chaotic pendulum. For the systems considered in this paper, the least-squares approach provides values of model parameters that agree well with values obtained in other ways, even in the presence of modest amounts of added noise. For experimental data, the “fitted” and experimental attractors are found to have the same correlation dimension and the same positive Lyapunov exponent.


This article was originally published in Chaos, 6(4): 528-533. © 1996 American Institute of Physics.