Archive: December 10th, 2008

Fun with the Henon map

[General,Toys] (12.10.08, 11:08 pm)

I just built something that I’ve been meaning to make for years. I tried building something like it before, about 5 years ago, right before I graduated from CMU. At the time, I had strong programming ability for small projects, but didn’t really know how to write programs modularly with any effectiveness. I’ve learned so much since then, so now something that took a really inordinate amount of time and never got off the ground before took two days to write. I like to program recreationally. It’s a very bizarre habit. It’s not a compulsion, but really just a passtime.

The project in question is a visualizer for strange attractors. I did research on them as an undergraduate at CMU, and I’ve been wanting to make this project as a general tool ever since. I wanted something that could display stuff in both parameter space and phase space, and effectively get at all of the peculiar things that can happen with strange attractors.  The example below only does anything interesting in phase space, but it’s rather flexible, and has a nice modular architecture, which means that it will be easy to adjust properties, add or remove visual elements, and generally do interesting things.

It does not seem to behave quite properly with the mouse wheel at the moment, but it should have zoom functionality…

Java 1.5 or higher is required to run this applet. Please download a JRE from java.sun.com.