Saturday, April 24, 2010

Chaos in the Classroom

The classroom can be chaotic at times, especially as Summer approaches, but this time it was all on-topic.  Well, actually it was off-topic, as we were supposed to be working on the Graphical Interfaces for our Spring Semester projects.  Nonetheless, I had been reading about chaos the night before and took the opportunity to show my class the basics of attractors in chaos theory.

I had thrown together a quick Python program that allowed the user to choose values to iterate through a chaotic function.  I pulled up a great image from wikipedia and showed how the numbers produced were just where they should be, according to the image.  One of my students said, " I want to make that graph!"  I said, "yeah, go for it." 

That night I did what I often do: code some of the same projects that my students are working on, just to keep sharp.  I used John Zelle's graphics module and produced the above image.  Not bad. 

Of course Josh--my best Java programmer--threw together a Swing version that has about ten times the resolution....

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