bifurcation theory

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bifurcation theory

[‚bī·fər′kā·shən ‚thē·ə·rē]
(mathematics)
The study of the local behavior of solutions of a nonlinear equation in the neighborhood of a known solution of the equation; in particular, the study of solutions which appear as a parameter in the equation is varied and which at first approximate the known solution, thus seeming to branch off from it. Also known as branching theory.