Fractals and Chaos
Fractal Discovery Lab

This pre-Windows, DOS Turbo Pascal program was developed in the late 1980s and early 1990s mostly on 286 and 386 PCs.  Many of the images required hours, or even days, to compute at that time.

Download the Sampler program (1.4 MB) (in English and French), which shows many features of the full program.  The complete program and image files are not available online at this time.   (EXE only; no source code for now -- I'll make the source code available once I can recompile the program again.  Patched to avoid TP7 Runtime Errror 200.)

The Fractal Discovery Lab was part of Digital Visions: The Art of Computer Science at the Kansas City Museum, July-September 1992 and later was displayed at Wonderscope.


The Fractal Discovery Laboratory is a computer program designed for use in a science museum or school setting.  The Lab introduces the concepts of fractals and mathematical chaos in a way that is entertaining to a four-year-old, yet may be interesting to a mathematician.  With a mouse, just "point" and "click" to make all selections.

The Discovery Lab is available in English or French.


The Art Gallery shows the beauty of fractals and amazing mathematical worlds of chaos.  The Gallery has 72 pre-computed fractal images.  "Special Effects" add a dynamic dimension to each image.  The Gallery's Slide Show starts automatically as a screen saver whenever the Lab is inactive for more than 30 seconds

The Microscope shows several enlargements of five particular fractal images.  Starting with a macroscopic view, the Microscope enlarges some images to beyond a magnification of 5,000,000X.  The Microscope consists of 85 pre-computed fractal images.  

Six different Movies show fractals in motion. Each "movie" consists of a series of frames that are shown as quickly as possible to simulate motion.  The Movies consist of 165 pre-computed fractal images.  ("Click" anywhere to interrupt a movie in progress.)

With Tools, pictures of mathematical chaos can be viewed as they are made. (These images are not pre-computed - a math coprocessor is recommended.)  See practical applications: image compression and limitations on long-range weather forecasting.

Further exploration of fractals and chaos is encouraged by checking out references in the Library.  Seven books and six articles are listed for further study.  A "Dictionary" gives brief explanations of six terms used in the Discovery Laboratory.  

Updated 18 Feb 2002


since 26 Sept 2000