Engineers use supercomputer to create beautiful video

May 12, 2014 by Matt Terry, McMaster University

A group of computing and software students have created some stunning videos using one of the most powerful computers in the world.

The fourth-year students used the Blue Gene/Q , located at the University of Toronto, to generate fractals – never-ending patterns that repeat at different scales.

The shapes are generated with a simple mathematical formula, but create incredibly complex shapes.

"Each pixel in an image is assigned coordinates," says Ned Nedialkov, associate professor in computing and software. "These starting coordinates are then fed into a formula, resulting in new coordinates, which are plugged into the same formula for the next iteration, and so on."

Nedialkov compares the process to zooming in on a digital map.

"Imagine the whole eastern coast of Canada laid out on a map. Then, as you zoom in and get closer, you can see the actually coast line, then the details of the beach, individual stones, pieces of sand, and then every molecule that makes up the sand."

The shapes take billions of computations to create, and without the use of a supercomputer would take months to complete.

The exercise helps students learn both about fractals and supercomputers, which are used for a variety of tasks, including .

Explore further: Mathematicians develop new method for describing extremely complicated shapes

Related Stories

Formula unlocks secrets of cauliflower's geometry

October 23, 2012

The laws that govern how intricate surface patterns, such as those found in the cauliflower, develop over time have been described, for the first time, by a group of European researchers.

Exploring tessellations beyond Escher

June 16, 2011

(PhysOrg.com) -- By incorporating geometrical concepts into his artwork, M. C. Escher demonstrated the potential beauty that could be achieved by combining mathematics and art. One of Escher's most well-known types of art ...

Secret to the perfect pancake is discovered

March 4, 2014

In a collaboration with Meadowhall Shopping Centre, students from the University's Maths Society (SUMS) developed, trialled and tested a formula which enables pancake-lovers across the world to rustle-up pancakes to their ...

Recommended for you

Printing microelectrode array sensors on gummi candy

June 22, 2018

Microelectrodes can be used for direct measurement of electrical signals in the brain or heart. These applications require soft materials, however. With existing methods, attaching electrodes to such materials poses significant ...

EU copyright law passes key hurdle

June 20, 2018

A highly disputed European copyright law that could force online platforms such as Google and Facebook to pay for links to news content passed a key hurdle in the European Parliament on Wednesday.

2 comments

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

dirk_bruere
not rated yet May 13, 2014
This would have been news 25 years ago
Writela
not rated yet May 13, 2014
Such a projects are done with students during their homeworks. And they're computed in realtime in webbrowser.

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.