Proceed to Safety


Robert P. Munafo, 2022 Oct 14.

The values of Zn that are calculated during an iteration process. The iterates form a sequence of points Zn (also called the point's orbit or the critical orbit of the point's Julia set), with one member for each positive integer n. The sequence is defined by the recurrence relation:

Z0 = 0

Zn+1 = Zn2 + C

where C is the point for which the iteration is being performed.

If the values of Zn diverge to infinity by getting progressively larger and larger, the point C is not in the Mandelbrot set.

If the values converge on a single value or a finite repeating set of N values, the point is in the Mandelbrot Set and is said to have period N. The set of N values is the limit cycle.

If the values follow a chaotic, non-repeating pattern and never diverge to infinity the point is in the Mandelbrot Set and also on the boundary. Not all points on the boundary have chaotic iteration, however. The Misiurewicz points are the best examples. See also accuracy.

Diverging to Infinity

In the recurrence relation (shown above), if Z and C are both real numbers, then the result of each iteration will be a real number, and if the iteration "diverges to infinity", that will involve a large positive value of Zn that keep getting larger as n increases. It never "diverges to negative infinity".

For the Mandelbrot Set, Z and C are usually non-real, and "diverging to infinity" means that the magnitude of Zn gets progressively larger. In the usual interpretation of complex numbers as points on a plane, there is no single "infinity" to which the iteration diverges, because the angle will keep changing.

However this interpretation of the complex plane is not optimal for generalising the quadratic iteration Z -> Z2 + C to complex numbers; the Riemann sphere is more applicable. For practical purposes this means that all "overflows" of either the real or imaginary component are interpreted as meaning that the value of Z has diverged.

Dwell Limit

Typically in practice one needs to limit how many times the calculation Zn+1 = Zn2 + C is performed, using a maximum dwell value of some kind. See the page on algorithms for more information about how to write a Mandelbrot program.

Much more informative pictures can be produced with the extra information provided by the distance estimator algorithm.

Julia sets can be plotted via the inverse iteration method.

See also inverse Mandelbrot iteration.

revisions: 20020529 oldest version on record; 20111208 add link to DEM/M; 20120420 link to maximum dwell 20221015 add reference to Riemann sphere iteration

From the Mandelbrot Set Glossary and Encyclopedia, by Robert Munafo, (c) 1987-2023.     Mu-ency index

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