The Computational Beauty of Nature
Computer Explorations of Fractals, Chaos,
Complex Systems, and Adaptation

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Glossary - B

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Backpropagation     An algorithm for efficiently calculating the error gradient of a neural network, which can then be used as the basis of learning. Backpropagation is equivalent to the delta rule for perceptrons, but can also calculate appropriate weight changes for the hidden layer weights of a multilayer perceptron by generalizing the notion of an error correction term. In the simplest case, backpropagation is a type of steepest descent in the search space of the network weights, and it will usually converge to a local minimum.

Basin of Attraction     A region of state space in which all included states of a dynamical system ultimately lead into the attractor.

Bias     See threshold.

Bifurcation     The splitting of a single mode of a system's behavior into two new modes. This usually occurs as a function of a continuously varying control parameter. A cascade of bifurcations will usually precede the onset of chaos.

Binary     Written in a form that uses only 0s and 1s. A string of bits.

Bit     The smallest unit of information; the answer to a yes/no question; the outcome of a coin toss; a 0 or a 1.

Boid     An autonomous agent that behaves like a simplified bird but will display flocking patterns in the presence of other boids.

Boolean     Taking only 0/1, true/false, yes/no values.

Bottom-Up     A description that uses the lower-level details to explain higher-level patterns; related to reductionism.

Brown Noise/Brownian Motion     A form of randomness that is the result of cumulatively adding white noise, to yield a random walk pattern.

Bucket Brigade Algorithm     A learning algorithm that is a method for adjusting the strengths of the classifiers of a classifier system. ``Winning'' classifiers pay a portion of their earnings to other classifiers that assisted them in being activated, similar to an economic system.

Byte     Eight bits. In programming, often used to store a single text character.

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Copyright © Gary William Flake, 1998-2002. All Rights Reserved. Last modified: 30 Nov 2002