Strange attractors in generativepy

Martin McBride
2021-12-16

Strange attractors are a type of fractal formed by iterating over a set of equations.

The equations typically take in an (x, y) pair of values that represent a point in 2 dimensions. The result of the calculation is a new (x, y) pair of values.

By continuously feeding the new values back into the same equations, the process creates a stream of (x, y) values.

When these values are plotted as dots on an image, the result initially looks random and chaotic. But after plotting a large number of points, a pattern appears as the points only land on certain parts of the plane.

The pattern can often be enhanced by applying different colours, typically based on how many times each point is visited by the algorithm.

In a true strange attractor, the same pattern will always occur no matter what values are chosen for the initial x and y. There are other types where the pattern is different depending on the initial values. These types are still commonly called strange attractors.

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