= N =
[scientific computation] 1. Behaving in an
erratic and unpredictable fashion; unstable. When used to describe
the behavior of a machine or program, it suggests that said machine
or program is being forced to run far outside of design
specifications. This behavior may be induced by unreasonable
inputs, or may be triggered when a more mundane bug sends the
computation far off from its expected course. 2. When describing
the behavior of a person, suggests a tantrum or a flame.
"When you talk to Bob, don't mention the drug problem or he'll go
nonlinear for hours." In this context, `go nonlinear' connotes
`blow up out of proportion' (proportion connotes linearity).
--The Jargon File version 4.3.1, ed. ESR, autonoded by rescdsk.