Sunday, June 27, 2010

The Mandelbulb: first 'true' 3D image of famous fractal


It may look like a piece of virtuoso knitting, but the makers of an image they call the Mandelbulb (see right) claim it is most accurate three-dimensional representation to date of the most famous fractal equation: the Mandelbrot set.

There have been previous attempts at a 3D Mandelbrot image, but they do not display real fractal behaviour, says Daniel White, an amateur fractal image maker based in Bedford, UK.

Spinning the 2D Mandelbrot fractal like wood on a lathe, raising and lowering certain points, or invoking higher-dimensional mathematics can all produce apparently three-dimensional Mandelbrots. Yet none of these techniques offer the detail and self-similar shapes that White believes represent a true 3D fractal image. Two years ago, he decided to find a "true" 3D version of the Mandelbrot.

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