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attractor

[uh-trak-ter] /əˈtræk tər/
noun
1.
a person or thing that attracts.
2.
Physics. a state or behavior toward which a dynamic system tends to evolve, represented as a point or orbit in the system's phase space.
Origin
1645-1655
1645-55
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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Examples for attractor
  • In the long run, an educated workforce is an attractor.
  • In this case, you would get different redshifts looking towards and away from this attractor.
  • Find some good fishing holes with this interactive, statewide map of fish-attractor locations.
attractor in Science
attractor
  (ə-trāk'tər)   
A set of states of a dynamic physical system toward which that system tends to evolve, regardless of the starting conditions of the system. ◇ A point attractor is an attractor consisting of a single state. For example, a marble rolling in a smooth, rounded bowl will always come to rest at the lowest point, in the bottom center of the bowl; the final state of position and motionlessness is a point attractor. ◇ A periodic attractor is an attractor consisting of a finite or infinite set of states, where the evolution of the system results in moving cyclically through each state. The ideal orbit of a planet around a star is a periodic attractor, as are periodic oscillations. A periodic attractor is also called a limit-cycle. ◇ A strange attractor is an attractor for which the evolution through the set of possible physical states is nonperiodic (chaotic), resulting in an evolution through a set of states defining a fractal set. Most real physical systems (including the actual orbits of planets) involve strange attractors.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary
Copyright © 2002. Published by Houghton Mifflin. All rights reserved.
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