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Viewing 11 posts - 1 through 11 (of 11 total)
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  • #2090
    chupathingie
    Participant

    So Benoit Mandelbrot passed away. That got me back into doing some fractal-based rendering again. I’m glad he got to see his discoveries applied to 3 dimensions.

    (also larger here: http://www.flickr.com/photos/44012674@N04/5092728681/sizes/l/in/photostream/ )

    #34429
    orionid
    Participant

    RIP
    Always a sad day when pioneers of physics and mathematics pass away. Especially in a time when computers get all the credit.

    #34430
    CauseISaidSo
    Participant

    That’s a real one-two punch. First Martin Gardner earlier this year and now Mandelbrot himself.

    Gardner’s Scientific American article first introduced me to fractals. Using the algorithm he described in the article, I wrote my first fractal generator sometime in the early ’80s (before the IBM PC was introduced). It ran on a 6MHz Z80-based computer. And by ran, I mean for days and days just to generate a small data set. There were no floating-point processors then, so I wrote my own fixed-point math library, which limited the resolution but was still exponentially faster than floating point.

    Somewhere I’ve still got a set of 3 boxes (30 floppies) of 5-1/4″ floppies that contain one of those datasets. I’m not sure I still have a machine that will even read them. The entire data set could probably be generated in real-time on a modern machine, but back then it represented a few weeks of computing.

    #34431
    chupathingie
    Participant

    I hadn’t even heard of him at the time. Prolly a good thing, I’d have been losing sleep coding for that. The math is pretty light once you code that sqrt -1 thing in. Shocked you managed to get anything in those days with what was available; you had to have access to a mainframe back then to do any serious crunching.

    Sheesh, it’s come a long way.

    #34432
    CauseISaidSo
    Participant

    Sheesh, it’s come a long way.

    Yep, that’s probably the thing that makes me feel oldest – how often I find myself saying, “I can’t believe insert product with unbelievable capacity/performance is only $insert unbelievably low price“. 🙂

    My first year in college, terminals were a scarce resource and so were reserved for upper classmen. Freshmen had to use punch cards. Yes, my first real programming class was in FORTRAN on punch cards.

    Can someone help me find my walker?

    #34433
    ravnostic
    Participant

    About 18 years ago when I was first reintroduced to the PC (having lapsed 10 or so years), I downloaded a program called ‘Fractint’ (I still have it), which intro’d me to Mandelbrot and fractals.

    I haven’t used it in ages (it’s not on this 3 year old machine), but I know I still have it on CD (burned from 3.5s maybe 10 years ago?) It taught me a new way of viewing mathematics, and a new way of viewing art–and nature.

    RIP

    #34434
    chupathingie
    Participant

    Man I could have written that first sentence…similar story here. Built my first PC in 95 after not having looked at a computer for over a decade. Talk about feeling behind the curve. I still remember the PC speaker noise fractint made after rendering was complete. Then I’d go back to playing Descent.

    #34435
    orionid
    Participant

    I can’t believe insert product with unbelievable capacity/performance is only $insert unbelievably low price”.

    WOW! THAT’S A LOW PRICE!

    I downloaded a program called ‘Fractint’ (I still have it)

    Man, I forgot all about that. I pulled it off a shareware CD in 95 and tinkered a little. Mostly the math was beyond me (I was just starting to teach myself aerodynamics-related differentials, algorithms were a whole different ballgame), but I had fun plug-and-chugging with random variable changes to the pre-programmed algorithms to see what would happen. Not long after that, though, I was programming serpinskis and rectangular/hex/octogonal equivalents in my TI-83.

    #34436
    Curious
    Participant

    Sheesh, it’s come a long way.

    Yep, that’s probably the thing that makes me feel oldest – how often I find myself saying, “I can’t believe insert product with unbelievable capacity/performance is only $insert unbelievably low price“. 🙂

    My first year in college, terminals were a scarce resource and so were reserved for upper classmen. Freshmen had to use punch cards. Yes, my first real programming class was in FORTRAN on punch cards.

    Can someone help me find my walker?

    my first and only computer class we used punch cards. later a girlfriend took FORTRAN and for the first few weeks i could help her with the math. she then sped into areas i couldn’t keep up with. i admire folks who can do advanced math. mostly because they can see it in their minds.

    first add on HDD 4GB WD $209. just bought a 1 TB WD for $60. 🙂

    now this i saw in ’69 in santa monica at a company that did programing for the air force. they had a legacy vacuum tube mainframe with a 3 foot by 5 foot panel which had rows and rows of light bulbs. when they did a dump a polaroid mounted on a swing arm was aimed at the panel and a picture taken. the programmer had to count the lights on/off to see where his program hung.

    yeah i too am (repetitively) old.

    #34437
    chupathingie
    Participant

    WOW! THAT’S A LOW PRICE!

    What you did there, I see it…

    #34438
    CauseISaidSo
    Participant

    first add on HDD 4GB WD $209. just bought a 1 TB WD for $60. 🙂

    now this i saw in ’69 in santa monica at a company that did programing for the air force. they had a legacy vacuum tube mainframe with a 3 foot by 5 foot panel which had rows and rows of light bulbs. when they did a dump a polaroid mounted on a swing arm was aimed at the panel and a picture taken. the programmer had to count the lights on/off to see where his program hung.

    Ha! I’ve heard similar tales but fortunately avoided that era.

    My first computer was a Heathkit H8. With an add-on card, you could store programs on cassette tape instead of having to key them in in hex each time you wanted to run it.

    My first PC was a Dell 386 in about ’88. It had a 25MHz processor, 40MB hard drive and I think 2MB of memory. Note that those are M‘s and not G‘s. Where was the G then? In the price – 6G’s. I was trying to start a small business then and got it on a 5-year lease. Quite the painful experience.

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