MAT 351: Differential Equations: Chaos and Dynamical Systems
Spring 1997
Professor Sutherland

General Information:
This course is an introduction to dynamical systems, sometimes (rather erroneously) called ``chaos theory''. A dynamical system is a set of states, together with a rule that determines the present state in terms of the past state. Dynamical systems, while completely deterministic, can often exhibit very complicated, ``unpredicatable'' behavior. Dynamics originated with Poincaré around 1900, and has become very important to many areas of physical and biological science in order to explain and understand nonlinear phenomena.

Chaos: An Introduction to Dynamical Systems, by Alligood, Sauer, and Yorke. Springer-Verlag, 1997.

I will try to cover as much material of the text as we can, certainly chapters 1-9.

The most up-to-date version of any class handouts, and other useful materials will be posted on the class web page, at

Your grade will be based on the midterm (30%), final (30%), and homeworks (40%). Homeworks will be due biweekly, and some choice of problems will be allowed. The homework list should appear on the web page around the time it is assigned.

Special Needs:
If you have any condition such as a physical or mental disability which will make it difficult for you to carry out the work as I have outlined it, please notify me in the first two weeks of the course so that appropriate arrangements can be made.

Office Hours:
Mondays and Wednesdays 12:45-1:45, and by appointment. My office is in the Institute for Mathematical Sciences, room 5D-148 in the math tower. Phone: 632-7306. I can readily be reached by email at

Scott Sutherland
Sun Jan 19 01:14:59 EST 1997