fractal
<mathematics, graphics> A fractal is a rough or fragmented geometric
shape that can be subdivided in parts, each of which is (at least approximately)
a smaller copy of the whole. Fractals are generally selfsimilar (bits look like
the whole) and independent of scale (they look similar, no matter how close you
zoom in).
Many mathematical structures are fractals; e.g. Sierpinski triangle, Koch
snowflake, Peano curve, Mandelbrot set and Lorenz attractor. Fractals also
describe many realworld objects that do not have simple geometric shapes, such
as clouds, mountains, turbulence, and coastlines.
Benoit Mandelbrot, the discoverer of the Mandelbrot set, coined the term
"fractal" in 1975 from the Latin fractus or "to break". He defines a fractal as
a set for which the Hausdorff Besicovich dimension strictly exceeds the
topological dimension. However, he is not satisfied with this definition as it
excludes sets one would consider fractals.
sci.fractals FAQ.
See also fractal compression, fractal dimension, Iterated Function System.
Usenet newsgroups: sci.fractals, alt.binaries.pictures.fractals, comp.graphics.
["The Fractal Geometry of Nature", Benoit Mandelbrot].
[Are there nonselfsimilar fractals?]
(19970702)
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