catastrophe theory

catastrophe theory

noun Mathematics.
a theory, based on topology, for studying discontinuous processes and the mathematical models that describe them.

Origin:
1970–75

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World English Dictionary
catastrophe theory
 
n
a.  a mathematical theory that classifies surfaces according to their form
 b.  the popular application of this theory to the explanation of abruptly changing phenomena, as by the discontinuity of a line on the topmost fold of a folded surface

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Dictionary.com's 21st Century Lexicon
Main Entry:  catastrophe theory
Part of Speech:  n
Definition:  a branch of mathematics that deals with systems which have major abrupt changes, esp. using topology to explain events
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