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In the mathematical field of dynamical systems, an attractor is a set of numerical values toward which a system tends to evolve, for a wide variety of starting conditions of the system. System values that get close enough to the attractor values remain close even if slightly disturbed.

In finite-dimensional systems, the evolving variable may be represented algebraically as an n-dimensional vector. The attractor is a region in n-dimensional space. In physical systems, the n dimensions may be, for example, two or three positional coordinates for each of one or more physical entities; in economic systems, they may be separate variables such as the inflation rate and the unemployment rate.

If the evolving variable is two- or three-dimensional, the attractor of the dynamic process can be represented geometrically in two or three dimensions, (as for example in the three-dimensional case depicted to the right). An attractor can be a point, a finite set of points, a curve, a manifold, or even a complicated set with a fractal structure known as a strange attractor. If the variable is a scalar, the attractor is a subset of the real number line. Describing the attractors of chaotic dynamical systems has been one of the achievements of chaos theory.

A trajectory of the dynamical system in the attractor does not have to satisfy any special constraints except for remaining on the attractor, forward in time. The trajectory may be periodic or chaotic. If a set of points is periodic or chaotic, but the flow in the neighborhood is away from the set, the set is not an attractor, but instead is called a repeller (or repellor).

Attractor (disambiguation)

Attractor may refer to:

  • Attractor, a feature of some dynamic systems
  • Great Attractor, a gravity anomaly in intergalactic space
  • Fishing light attractor, a fishing aid
  • Bug attractor, in insect eradication
  • Software attractor, an animation or content that entices onlookers to participate in an interactive exhibit


  1. n. an entertainer who attracts large audiences; "he was the biggest drawing card they had" [syn: drawing card, draw, attraction, attracter]

  2. (physics) a point in the ideal multidimensional phase space that is used to describe a system toward which the system tends to evolve regardless of the starting conditions of the system [syn: attracter]

  3. a characteristic that provides pleasure and attracts; "flowers are an attractor for bees" [syn: attraction, attracter, attractive feature, magnet]



n. (context mathematics physics English) A set of points or states to which a dynamical system evolves after a long enough time. That is, points that get close enough to the attractor remain close even if slightly disturbed.

The Collaborative International Dictionary


Attractor \At*tract"or\ ([a^]t*tr[a^]kt"[~e]r), n. One who, or that which, attracts.
--Sir T. Browne

Usage examples of "attractor".

At that point neither the attractor or the antinode were up and running, so we were all targets.

Epilogue The networks of mass attractors that tethered the Extractor to Planet Pluto disengaged nine Earth centuries after construction began.

Those Nighters were using a fish-eye attractor as bait in their crab traps!

Tranto, glowing with the energy of the strange attractors he had consumed, was enthusiastic about shoving the piles of broken building materials from side to side, heaping marble on cinder block, plaster on preformed plastics.

The complexity is quantified by a number called the dimension of the strange attractor, which is a natural generalization of the ordinary concept of dimension.

Who knows, perhaps telos, perhaps Eros, moves the entire Kosmos, and God may indeed be an all-embracing chaotic Attractor, acting, as Whitehead said, throughout the world by gentle persuasion toward love.

Who knows, perhaps telos, perhaps Eros, moves the entire Kosmos, and God may indeed be an all-embracing chaotic Attractor, acting, as Whitehead said, throughout the world by gentle persuasion toward love.

The permanent floating meatspace party Manfred is hooking up with is a strange attractor for some of the American exiles cluttering up the cities of Europe this decade not trustafarians, but honest-to-God political dissidents, draft dodgers, and terminal outsourcing victims.

Nobel Laureate if the probabilities collapsed properly onto their just attractor, peered owlishly at Dexter with the sweet bashful hopefulness of every teenage wannabee sf writer who had ever babbled his creative heart out to him at a con suite party or across an autograph session table.

Chaotic attractors are complex and subtly ordered structures that constrain the behavior of seemingly random and unpredictable systems.

When the system achieves a new state of dynamic stability, the chaotic attractors of the bifurcation epoch give way to a new set of point or periodic attractors.

And the evolution of that Western mind was not an alienating move away from the Answer, but a series of profound (and heroic and painful) steps heading toward that Answer, the Chaotic Attractor as a future potential that was the Source and the Goal of the entire display, a future potential that became actual in any individual who stepped off the display and into the Abyss, from which the individual was reborn, not from the womb, but from Emptiness itselfand as the entire Kosmos.

Before you begin your run into Deep Fields have it carry you to the grove where strange attractors grow.

Tranto commented from where he stood on the flat bed, munching strange attractors.

The monkey had forborne from eating the strange attractors and nibbled now on a banana.