Dr. Kieran Mulchrone

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Fractal images are strikingly beautiful, bright, and complex and they're everywhere these days - from art galleries to image compression to movie graphics to environmental modelling (see Figure 1). It really is amazing to see a concept from the dusty world of mathematics jump up and grab the world's attention. Fractals and associated concepts came into being just at the time that powerful computers became cheap and widely accessible, and this is no coincidence. In the past it was widely assumed that complex phenomena such as coastlines, trees, and mountain shapes could only be described by complex and difficult mathematics, which could only be understood by a select few. This view has now been turned on its head and we can use simple equations to generate immense complexity just like that seen in nature. We can generate this complexity by using a computer to churn ... (more)