Feeds

Google does fractals in HTML5

Take a break with Julia and Mandelbrot

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

Fractals. They're porn for techies. Well, truth be told, porn is porn for techies. But fractals aren't far behind.

Fractals are far more interesting, at least in the long run. And you can look at fractals at the office without worrying if the boss will walk by.

If you're a techie, it's time you visited Google Labs project that uses the browser to render fractal images describing various Julia and Mandelbrot sets.

According to a blog post from Google software engineer Daniel Wolf, the fractal renderer is coded in HTML5 using the Google Maps API to allow you to zoom in and out on a fractal image and pan around the image as well.

Google Mandelbrot Set 1

The images described by the Julia and Mandelbrot sets, which you can play around with here, are calculated using JavaScript, and you can change the color palette to mess around with how the fractals are painted.

Google Mandelbrot Set 2

"Generating these images requires heavy computation resources," explains Wolf in his blog post. "Modern browsers have optimized JavaScript execution up to the point where it is now possible to render in a browser fractals like Julia sets almost instantly."

Google Julia Set 1

Wolf says that rendering each fractal image in the browser takes millions of floating point operations, and uses the Web Workers API, which allows for the JavaScript processing to spawn multiple and parallel rendering calculations to speed up the painting of each fractal image. The Web Workers API can also spread the rendering work over multiple cores and threads in a machine.

The images in this story were rendered on a single-socket workstation with a 2.27 GHz Xeon E5507 processor, 6 GB of memory, and an AMD FirePro V4800 graphics card. This machine is rated at a 7.0 on the Windows experience index, and it is running Windows 7 Professional 64-Bit and Google Chrome 9.0.597.84. As best as I can figure, the Google browser fractal generator is not using OpenGL and doing calculations on that graphics card. It didn't matter. They rendered in about a second.

And once again, raise a coffee mug to Benoit Mandelbrot, who used computers to render fractal images and popularized them and who died back in October.

Now get back to work. ®

The essential guide to IT transformation

More from The Register

next story
Kate Bush: Don't make me HAVE CONTACT with your iPHONE
Can't face sea of wobbling fondle implements. What happened to lighters, eh?
Video of US journalist 'beheading' pulled from social media
Yanked footage featured British-accented attacker and US journo James Foley
Caught red-handed: UK cops, PCSOs, specials behaving badly… on social media
No Mr Fuzz, don't ask a crime victim to be your pal on Facebook
Ballmer leaves Microsoft board to spend more time with his b-balls
From Clippy to Clippers: Hi, I see you're running an NBA team now ...
Online tat bazaar eBay coughs to YET ANOTHER outage
Web-based flea market struck dumb by size and scale of fail
Amazon takes swipe at PayPal, Square with card reader for mobes
Etailer plans to undercut rivals with low transaction fee offer
Assange™: Hey world, I'M STILL HERE, ignore that Snowden guy
Press conference: ME ME ME ME ME ME ME (cont'd pg 94)
Call of Duty daddy considers launching own movie studio
Activision Blizzard might like quality control of a CoD film
US regulators OK sale of IBM's x86 server biz to Lenovo
Now all that remains is for gov't offices to ban the boxes
prev story

Whitepapers

5 things you didn’t know about cloud backup
IT departments are embracing cloud backup, but there’s a lot you need to know before choosing a service provider. Learn all the critical things you need to know.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Build a business case: developing custom apps
Learn how to maximize the value of custom applications by accelerating and simplifying their development.
Rethinking backup and recovery in the modern data center
Combining intelligence, operational analytics, and automation to enable efficient, data-driven IT organizations using the HP ABR approach.
Next gen security for virtualised datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.