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Fractal Frequently Asked Questions and Answers

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See reader questions & answers on this topic! - Help others by sharing your knowledge
ISSN Pending       Volume 1 Number 1      February 13, 1995 
(c) Copyright Ermel Stepp 1995 
The international computer network Usenet contains discussions on a  
variety of topics. The Usenet newsgroup sci.fractals and the listserv forum  
frac-l are devoted to discussions on fractals. This FAQ (Frequently Asked  
Questions) is an electronic serial compiled from questions and answers 
contributed by many participants in those discussions. This FAQ also 
lists various archives of programs, images, and papers that can be accessed 
through the global computer networks (WWW/Internet/BITNET) by using email, 
anonymous ftp, gophers, and World Wide Web browsers. This FAQ is not 
intended as a general introduction to fractals, or a set of rigorous 
definitions, but rather a useful summary of ideas, sources, and references.  
This FAQ is posted monthly to the Usenet groups sci.fractals, ,  
, bit.listserv.frac-l and the listserv forum frac-l. Like most
FAQs, it can be obtained free with a WWW browser or by anonymous ftp to []; 
also, with a text-based browser, such as lynx, or anonymous ftp to: [].  
It can be retrieved by email to with the 
message: send usenet/news.answers/fractal-faq  
The hypertext version of the Fractal FAQ has hyperlinks to sources on the  
World Wide Web. It can be accessed with a browser such as xmosaic at  
Also, the hypertext version is online for review and comment at:  
Please suggest other links to add to the Fractal FAQ.  
For your information, the World Wide Web FAQ is available via: 
  The WWW: 
  Anonymous ftp: in /pub/usenet/news.answers/www/faq 
  Email: (send usenet/news.answers/www/faq
If you are viewing this file with a newsreader such as "rn" or "trn", you can  
search for a particular question by using "g^Qn" (that's lower-case g, up-  
arrow, Q, and n, the number of the question you wish). Or you may  
browse forward using <control-G> to search for a Subject: line.  
I am happy to receive more information to add to this file. Also, let me  
know if you find mistakes. Please send your comments and suggestions  
to Ermel Stepp (email:  
The questions which are answered are:  
Q1: I want to learn about fractals. What should I read first?  
Q2: What is a fractal? What are some examples of fractals?  
Q3: What is chaos?  
Q4a: What is fractal dimension? How is it calculated?  
Q4b: What is topological dimension?  
Q5: What is a strange attractor?  
Q6a: What is the Mandelbrot set?  
Q6b: How is the Mandelbrot set actually computed?  
Q6c: Why do you start with z=0?  
Q6d: What are the bounds of the Mandelbrot set? When does it diverge?  
Q6e: How can I speed up Mandelbrot set generation?  
Q6f: What is the area of the Mandelbrot set?  
Q6g: What can you say about the structure of the Mandelbrot set?  
Q6h: Is the Mandelbrot set connected?  
Q7a: What is the difference between the Mandelbrot set and a Julia set?  
Q7b: What is the connection between the Mandelbrot set and Julia sets?  
Q7c: How is a Julia set actually computed?  
Q7d: What are some Julia set facts?  
Q8a: How does complex arithmetic work?  
Q8b: How does quaternion arithmetic work?  
Q9: What is the logistic equation?  
Q10: What is Feigenbaum's constant?  
Q11a: What is an iterated function system (IFS)?  
Q11b: What is the state of fractal compression?  
Q12a: How can you make a chaotic oscillator?  
Q12b: What are laboratory demonstrations of chaos?  
Q13: What are L-systems?  
Q14: What is some information on fractal music?  
Q15: How are fractal mountains generated?  
Q16: What are plasma clouds?  
Q17a: Where are the popular periodically-forced Lyapunov fractals described?  
Q17b: What are Lyapunov exponents?  
Q17c: How can Lyapunov exponents be calculated?  
Q18: Where can I get fractal T-shirts and posters?  
Q19: How can I take photos of fractals?  
Q20: How can 3-D fractals be generated?  
Q21a: What is Fractint?  
Q21b: How does Fractint achieve its speed?  
Q22: Where can I obtain software packages to generate fractals?  
Q23a: How does anonymous ftp work?  
Q23b: What if I can't use ftp to access files?  
Q24a: Where are fractal pictures archived?  
Q24b: How do I view fractal pictures from  
Q25: Where can I obtain fractal papers?  
Q26: How can I join the BITNET fractal discussion?  
Q27: What is complexity?  
Q28a: What are some general references on fractals and chaos?  
Q28b: What are some relevant journals?  
Q29: Are there any special notices?  
Q30: Who has contributed to the Fractal FAQ?  
Q31: Copyright?  

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