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Monday, November 16, 2009

3D Mandelbrot Sets (and Cyberpunk)

This article is about the mathematical/software algorithmic breakthrough to produce 3D Mandelbrot sets. We've all seen the 2D computer-generated, swirling, never-ending graphical patterns that have visual and scientific appeal. They are fractals that produce rich detail in both dimensions regardless of the level of zooming into the picture.

(What's this got to do with flash fiction, you're wondering? Well, this article has turned into sort of a Mandelbrot set of its own.)

This article on 3D Mandelbrot sets ('Mandelbulbs') gives a very accessible background of 3D Mandelbrot sets and provides many stunning graphics including some videos showing a 'zoom-in' of a 3D image. In the Opening Pandora's Box for the Second Time section, you'll see that Rudy Rucker gave some of the earliest thought about the production of 3D Mandelbrot sets. He is an American mathematician and computer scientist, now on faculty at San Jose State University. Readers of Flash Fiction Online may also recognize him as a founder of the cyberpunk science-fiction movement and an author.

Traveling along this path...Flash Fiction Online readers and writers may also be interested in Rudy Rucker's A Writer's Toolkit (PDF) which is his "working notes for teaching writing workshops, newly revised on September 3, 2009." In the writing section of Rudy Rucker's personal web site, you'll also find his essays and speeches on writing (including 'what is cyberpunk,' a sometimes elusive term), web pages for his books, extensive notes on his "almost book-length" notes on his novels and non-fiction books, his online writings, and much more.

Okay, I'm lost. I can't find my way back to the thread of this article. My algorithm must be defective. Sorry. If you happen to see the rest of my article, please send me a URL.

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