We reviewed results from 4b through 4f on the Iterated Functions sheet, making a brief detour to discuss the Golden Ratio which became surprisingly relevant for 4d. Every example had a single attracting fixed point until 4f, which had two repellers. But what did these repellers repel to? It wasn’t infinity, it was a cycle of values between 0 and -1. This is our first example of a limit cycle, a surprising result in algebraic iterations where a pattern of steps is pushed into a repetitive cycle.
Then we pushed the function a little further, from x^2 – 1 to x^2 – 2. Still with two repellers, this time the system of iterations dissolved into complete chaos, careening randomly within the interval -2 to 2, never settling into one spot. Changing the value of the seed by only one ten-thousandth produced a completely different pattern of iterations, demonstrating the sensitivity to initial conditions that are characteristic of chaos.
We will see plenty more examples of weird behavior in our iterations, but for now please finish question 4, parts h, i, and j. We’ll be discussing these results on Monday when we return.