## bifurcation

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bifurcation A splitting in two. The term can be applied in computing in various ways. 1 Bifurcation is the generic name for a collection of algorithms that initially convert a decision table into a tree structure, which can then be systematically encoded to produce a program.

The bifurcation method involves choosing some condition C and eliminating it from the decision table to produce two subtables, one corresponding to the case when C is true and the other to when C is false. The method is then applied recursively to the two subtables. From this approach a decision tree can be built, each node of the tree representing a condition and subtrees representing subtables; leaf nodes identify rules.2 Bifurcation theory is the theory of equilibrium solutions of nonlinear differential equations; an equilibrium solution is a steady solution, a time periodic, or a quasi-periodic solution. Generally bifurcation points are points at which branches and therefore multiple solutions appear.

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bi·fur·ca·tion / ˌbīfərˈkāshən/ • n. the division of something into two branches or parts: the bifurcation of the profession into social do-gooders and self-serving iconoclasts. ∎  a thing divided in this way or either of the branches: the bifurcation of the aorta is a site commonly affected first.

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bifurcation ratio A dimensionless number denoting the ratio between the number of streams of one order (see stream order) and those of the next higher order in a drainage network. It may be a useful measure of proneness to flooding: the higher the bifurcation ratio, the greater the probability of flooding.

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bifurcation ratio Dimensionless number denoting the ratio between the number of streams of one order (see STREAM ORDER) and those of the next-higher order in a drainage network. It may be a useful measure of proneness to flooding: the higher the bifurcation ratio, the greater the probability of flooding.

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bifurcation In a phylogenetic (see PHYLOGENY) tree, the dichotomous forking of an ancestral branch which indicates a speciation event.

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bifurcation In a phylogenetic (see phylogeny) tree, the dichotomous forking of an ancestral branch which indicates a speciation event.

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bifurcation (by-fer-kay-shŏn) n. (in anatomy) the point at which division into two branches occurs; for example in blood vessels or in the trachea.