Benoit Mandelbrot, Father of Fractals, Dies at 85

Mathematician Benoit Mandelbrot, the father of fractals, died of pancreatic
cancer on Oct. 14, 2010, AFP reported. He was 85
years old.

His work on fractals has become a foundation of the Chaos theory and is
critical to many applications and systems, ranging from digital compression on
computers, modeling turbulence on aircraft wing designs, and texturing medical

Most people know fractals as the weird, colorful patterns drawn by computers. The word "fractals" was coined by Mandelbrot to
refer to rough or fragmented geometric shapes or processes that have similar
properties at all levels of magnification or across all times. There are
mathematical shapes with uneven contours that mimic irregularities found in
nature, such as clouds and trees, and can be measured and simulated, Mandelbrot

Up until then, mathematicians believed that most of the patterns of nature
were too complex and irregular to be described mathematically.

In his 1982 book, "The
Fractal Geometry of Nature
," Mandelbrot said complex outlines of
clouds and coastlines, once considered unmeasurable, could "be approached
in rigorous and vigorous quantitative fashion" with fractal geometry. With
fractals, it is possible to create models of coastlines, cell growth and other
processes that look like the real thing.

He even applied the theory to the financial market, predicting and warning
about the global financial meltdown in his 2005 book "The (Mis)Behaviour of Markets." He cited the huge risks being
taken by traders who tend to act as if the market is predictable, comparing
them to "mariners
who heed no weather warnings.

For more, read the eWeek article Benoit Mandelbrot, Father of Fractals, Dies at 85.

CIO Insight Staff
CIO Insight Staff
CIO Insight offers thought leadership and best practices in the IT security and management industry while providing expert recommendations on software solutions for IT leaders. It is the trusted resource for security professionals who need network monitoring technology and solutions to maintain regulatory compliance for their teams and organizations.

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