Middlemath

Suppose you start at the middle of a triangle, then map all possible ways you can jump eight times half-way towards one or another of the vertices of the triangle. At the end of the eight jumps, you mark your final position with a dot. You could jump eight times towards the same vertex, or once towards vertex 1, once towards vertex 2, and once again towards vertex 1. And so on. If you do this, the record of your jumps looks something like this:


The shape is a fractal called the Sierpiński triangle. But if you try the same thing with a square — map all possible jumping-routes you can follow towards one or another of the four vertices — you simply fill the interior of the square. There’s no interesting fractal:


So you need a plan with a ban. Try mapping all possible routes where you can’t jump towards the same vertex twice in a row. And you get this:

Ban on jumping towards same vertex twice in a row, v(t) ≠ v(t-1)


If you call the current vertex v(t) and the previous vertex v(t-1), the ban says that v(t) ≠ v(t-1). Now suppose you can’t jump towards the vertex one place clockwise of the previous vertex. Now the ban is v(t)-1 ≠ v(t-1) or v(t) ≠ v(t-1)+1 and this fractal appears:

v(t) ≠ v(t-1)+1


And here’s a ban on jumping towards the vertex two places clockwise (or counterclockwise) of the vertex you’ve just jumped towards:

v(t) ≠ v(t-1)+2


And finally the ban on jumping towards the vertex three places clockwise (or one place counterclockwise) of the vertex you’ve just jumped towards:

v(t) ≠ v(t-1)+3 (a mirror-image of v(t) ≠ v(t-1)+1, as above)


Now suppose you introduce a new point to jump towards at the middle of the square. You can create more fractals, but you have to adjust the kind of ban you use. The central point can’t be included in the ban or the fractal will be asymmetrical. So you continue taking account of the vertices, but if the previous jump was towards the middle, you ignore that jump. At least, that’s what I intended, but I wonder whether my program works right. Anyway, here are some of the fractals that it produces:

v(t) ≠ v(t-1) with central point (wcp)


v(t) ≠ v(t-1)+1, wcp


v(t) ≠ v(t-1)+2, wcp


And here are some bans taking account of both the previous vertex and the pre-previous vertex:

v(t) ≠ v(t-1) & v(t) ≠ v(t-2), wcp


v(t) ≠ v(t-1) & v(t-2)+1, wcp


v(t) ≠ v(t-1)+2 & v(t-2), wcp


v(t) ≠ v(t-1) & v(t-2)+1, wcp


v(t) ≠ v(t-1)+1 & v(t-2)+1, wcp


v(t) ≠ v(t-1)+2 & v(t-2)+1, wcp


v(t) ≠ v(t-1)+3 & v(t-2)+1, wcp


v(t) ≠ v(t-1) & v(t-2)+2, wcp


v(t) ≠ v(t-1)+1 & v(t-2)+2, wcp


v(t) ≠ v(t-1)+2 & v(t-2)+2, wcp


Now look at pentagons. They behave more like triangles than squares when you map all possible jumping-routes towards one or another of the five vertices. That is, a fractal appears:

All possible jumping-routes towards the vertices of a pentagon


But the pentagonal-jump fractals get more interesting when you introduce jump-bans:

v(t) ≠ v(t-1)


v(t) ≠ v(t-1)+1


v(t) ≠ v(t-1)+2


v(t) ≠ v(t-1) & v(t-2)


v(t) ≠ v(t-1)+2 & v(t-2)


v(t) ≠ v(t-1)+1 & v(t-2)+1


v(t) ≠ v(t-1)+3 & v(t-2)+1


v(t) ≠ v(t-1)+1 & v(t-2)+2


v(t) ≠ v(t-1)+2 & v(t-2)+2


v(t) ≠ v(t-1)+3 & v(t-2)+2


Finally, here are some pentagonal-jump fractals using a central point:








Post-Performative Post-Scriptum

I’m not sure if I’ve got the order of some bans right above. For example, should v(t) ≠ v(t-1)+1 & v(t-2)+2 really be v(t) ≠ v(t-1)+2 & v(t-2)+1? I don’t know and I’m not going to check. But the idea of jumping-point bans is there and that’s all you need if you want to experiment with these fractal methods for yourself.

Bent Pent

This is a beautiful and interesting shape, reminiscent of a piece of jewellery:

Pentagons in a ring


I came across it in this tricky little word-puzzle:

Word puzzle using pentagon-ring


Here’s a printable version of the puzzle:

Printable puzzle


Let’s try placing some other regular polygons with s sides around regular polygons with s*2 sides:

Hexagonal ring of triangles


Octagonal ring of squares


Decagonal ring of pentagons


Dodecagonal ring of hexagons


Only regular pentagons fit perfectly, edge-to-edge, around a regular decagon. But all these polygonal-rings can be used to create interesting and beautiful fractals, as I hope to show in a future post.

Think Inc

This is a T-square fractal:

T-square fractal


Or you could say it’s a T-square fractal with the scaffolding taken away, because there’s nothing to show how it was made. And how is a T-square fractal made? There are many ways. One of the simplest is to set a point jumping 1/2 of the way towards one or another of the four vertices of a square. If the point is banned from jumping towards the vertex two places clockwise (or counter-clockwise) of the vertex, v[i=1..4], it’s just jumped towards, you get a T-square fractal by recording each spot where the point lands.

You also get a T-square if the point is banned from jumping towards the vertex most distant from the vertex, v[i], it’s just jumped towards. The most distant vertex will always be the diagonally opposite vertex, or the vertex, v[i+2], two places clockwise of v[i]. So those two bans are functionally equivalent.

But what if you don’t talk about bans at all? You can also create a T-square fractal by giving the point three choices of increment, [0,1,3], after it jumps towards v[i]. That is, it can jump towards v[i+0], v[i+1] or v[i+3] (where 3+2 = 5 → 5-4 = 1; 3+3 = 6 → 2; 4+1 = 5 → 1; 4+2 = 6 → 2; 4+3 = 7 → 3). Vertex v[i+0] is the same vertex, v[i+1] is the vertex one place clockwise of v[i], and v[i+3] is the vertex two places clockwise of v[i].

So this method is functionally equivalent to the other two bans. But it’s easier to calculate, because you can take the current vertex, v[i], and immediately calculate-and-use the next vertex, without having to check whether the next vertex is forbidden. In other words, if you want speed, you just have to Think Inc!

Speed becomes important when you add a new jumping-target to each side of the square. Now the point has 8 possible targets to jump towards. If you impose several bans on the next jump, e.g the point can’t jump towards v[i+2], v[i+3], v[i+5], v[i+6] and v[i+7], you will have to check for five forbidden targets. But using the increment-set [0,1,4] you don’t have to check for anything. You just inc-and-go:

inc = 0, 1, 4


Here are more fractals created with the speedy inc-and-go method:

inc = 0, 2, 3


inc = 0, 2, 5


inc = 0, 3, 4


inc = 0, 3, 5


inc = 1, 4, 7


inc = 2, 4, 7


inc = 0, 1, 4, 7


inc = 0, 3, 4, 5


inc = 0, 3, 4, 7


inc = 0, 4, 5, 7


inc = 1, 2, 6, 7


With more incs, there are more possible paths for the jumping point and the fractals become more “solid”:

inc = 0, 1, 2, 4, 5


inc = 0, 1, 2, 6, 7


inc = 0, 1, 3, 5, 7


Now try applying inc-and-go to a pentagon:

inc = 0, 1, 2

(open in new window if blurred)


inc = 0, 2, 3


And add a jumping-target to each side of the pentagon:

inc = 0, 2, 5


inc = 0, 3, 6


inc = 0, 3, 7


inc = 1, 5, 9


inc = 2, 5, 8


inc = 5, 6, 9


And add two jumping-targets to each side of the pentagon:

inc = 0, 1, 7


inc = 0, 2, 12


inc = 0, 3, 11


inc = 0, 3, 12


inc = 0, 4, 11


inc = 0, 5, 9


inc = 0, 5, 10


inc = 2, 7, 13


inc = 2, 11, 13


inc = 3, 11, 13


After the pentagon comes the hexagon:

inc = 0, 1, 2


inc = 0, 1, 5


inc = 0, 3, 4


inc = 0, 3, 5


inc = 1, 3, 5


inc = 2, 3, 4


Add a jumping-target to each side of the hexagon:

inc = 0, 2, 5


inc = 0, 2, 9


inc = 0, 6, 11


inc = 0, 3, 6


inc = 0, 3, 8


inc = 0, 3, 9


inc = 0, 4, 7


inc = 0, 4, 8


inc = 0, 5, 6


inc = 0, 5, 8


inc = 1, 5, 9


inc = 1, 6, 10


inc = 1, 6, 11


inc = 2, 6, 8


inc = 2, 6, 10


inc = 3, 5, 7


inc = 3, 6, 9


inc = 6, 7, 11