Scientists in many fields are recognizing that the systems they study often exhibit a type of time evolution known as chaos. Its hallmark is wild, unpredictable behavior, a state often perplexing and unwelcome to those who encounter it. Indeed this highly structured and deterministic phenomenon was in the past frequently mistaken for noise and viewed as something to be avoided in most applications. Recently researchers have realized that chaos can actually be advantageous in many situations and that when it is unavoidably present, it can often be controlled to obtain desired results. In this article, we present some of the basic ideas behind the feedback control of chaos, review a few illustrative experimental results and assess the status and future promise of the field.

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