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February 9th, 2017, 08:02 PM   #1
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Fractals from Real-World Data?

Over the last few years I've been dinking around with fractals in my spare time, writing programs to draw them to make sure it actually works and my understanding of them is correct.

I have now learned to draw fractals in 3 different ways: equations, from shapes (like Koch curves), and from sort of arbitrary rule sets (vague, I know). But all of these share something in common: they deal with non, real-world things. Numbers defined by a human, programmed in and iterated. The real world is much more dynamic, with chaos playing a role.

So my question is this: can you take numbers (or data points) from the real world, and end up with fractals? Here's a completely arbitrary example I just thought up (literally)... say you have a tree in your back yard. the sun is moving throughout the day. You map the sun's position to an x, y plane, and pick a spot in your yard that is either covered by shadow (from the tree), or not, for the given x, y of the sun, and map that into a graphic (this is the same as the other fractals I've created as far as I can tell). Would it produce a fractal?

Hopefully this makes sense. I would like to take a bunch of real-world data, for example, like some entries into a database, or the number of code-checkins, or bugs created (I work in software) for our team at work, and generate a fractal from them.

Just curious. Thanks for any feedback!
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February 11th, 2017, 07:49 PM   #2
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Been looking around for something like this. I remember watching a documentary on Mandelbot and they mentioned that the interference patterns in telegraph lines (or phones) was found to be self-similar. That seems like a real-world data situation that produces fractals, but that's the only one i've ever heard of, and that was off-handedly mentioned. Everything else I find in searches talks about nature examples, like a fern. But that's someone observing that a fern looks like a fractal. I'd like some examples where real-world data is used to generate a fractal if anyone knows of such a thing.

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February 15th, 2017, 09:28 PM   #3
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Bumping for some help.

Here are some pics (instead of just bumping) for your viewing pleasure. These are written in Canvas/JS. Pretty fast for a browser (pics below take < 5 seconds to render):



colored randomly down the -x axis

minibrot at high zoom
mooserider is offline  
February 15th, 2017, 11:15 PM   #4
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Math Focus: Yet to find out.
Didn't Mr. Mandelbrot discover what he did from observing or trying to describe certain geometric patterns in nature? i.e., the real world (or parts of it).

It seems you have everything ready to go, and are asking permission to feed in real world data into your recursive function?

Or is your question actually Why when i feed in this set of (real) world data, fractals do not appear?. Or something along those lines.

The real world is much more dynamic, with chaos playing a role.
Take a look at the fractals heading here.


Nice pictures!
Thanks from topsquark

Last edited by Joppy; February 15th, 2017 at 11:19 PM.
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