My Eighties included:

Fractals. sm_fractal.jpg
You know, those images drawn from ‘recursive functions or algorithms’. Nowadays nobody understands why it boomed, and quite frankly that’s understandable. It’s that long ago, when the first homecomputer marched into the livingroom, sporting 16 to 256 colours in a low resolution.

I remember the first articles appearing in a popular Dutch science magazine (Kijk). When the first home computer entered our parental house, mid to late Eighties, fractals became part of that experiment too. Creating a fractal could take days.

Eventually we moved to DOS and PCs (which happened to be the next big revolution in computing) and discovered Fractint. (Note that Fractint is never mentioned in the Wikipedia article on Mandelbrot). It could still take hours to generate a good detailed image on an 286 AT (8MHz) PC. At least not days.

With today’s computing power, even Java applications create fractals faster than the Fractint executable on that poor 286. Not to mention the fractal creator on the 8 bit MSX computer. Take the Windows version of ManP (nowadays slightly based on Fractint): it takes seconds to create a fully coloured Mandelbrot or Julia fractal. That’s on an average 2.4 GHz Pentium 4 class processor and an obnoxious Intel graphics processor.

What’s the relevance of those computer drawn images? Believe it or not: In all those years, the routines have slipped into the software we use today. From compression to games. Sometimes even music.

One thought on “My Eighties included:

Comments are closed.