What’s a fractal?
Just one of the main building blocks of the universe. Known as ‘God’s thumbprint,’ these simple math formulas reveal the intricate recursive patterns found within nature, yet still remain one of science’s best-kept secrets. Follow along as we explore the contours, curiosities and creator of this beautiful wonder of the computer age.
"A fractal is a way of seeing infinity." —Benoit B. Mandelbrot
Meet the Fellows
World’s Fair 50: The IBM Pavilion
The famed, egg-shaped IBM Pavillion at the 1964 World’s Fair, designed by Charles Eames and Eero Saarinen Associates, covered 54,038 square feet (1.2 acres) and stood 90 feet high, was thought to pay homage to the typeball of the IBM Selectric typewriter. Covering the outside surface of the Ovoid were 1000 IBM logos, as represented on the IBM Pavilion welcome brochure shown above.
World’s Fair 50: Looking back to the future
As the ultimate showcase for global culture and innovations of tomorrow, the 1964 World’s Fair at Flushing Meadows in Queens, New York introduced over 51 million visitors to the future with modern-age marvels like touch-tone phones, Belgian waffles and the world’s earliest computers. The IBM Pavilion, designed by design demigods Charles Eames and Eero Saarinen, was one of the fair’s most popular attractions. And all this week, IBMblr is going retro to celebrate the fair in all its vintage greatness.
More time spent on apps than eating? You can’t make this stuff up. It’s Dispatch No. 15.
Skis made with data
It wasn’t so long ago that a pair of skis were two planks of wood with a couple of foot straps bolted on. Nowadays, skis are articles of precision equipment made with thousands of types of materials and almost as many models to choose from. And like any sport, skiing has its own followers of fashion. And keeping up with their demands is no easy task. Unless you’re Austrian ski manufacturer, Blizzard. They’re able to keep up with what’s hot, not, and destined to go ballistic now that analytics gives them a real-time view of what’s selling in ski shops all over the world. Which means they can always have what ski bunnies, powder hounds, shredders, freestylers and knuckle-draggers are hunting the store racks for. Explore more stories →
Dark chocolate. White chocolate. Milk chocolate. There’s chocolate for everyone in Dispatch No. 27.
"The connected car will give a lot more intelligence and visibility to drivers. The usage of a car will be much more different, based on the cloud. The car will do what you want. You can play, sleep, drive, be productive in the car, and this will be a totally different place to commute and to be mobile."
IBM Auto Industry & Cloud Expert
Making EV-friendly roads
Cheese made with data
Nothing’s quite like fresh Parmigiano. This cheese originated in the Middle ages. The milk must only be from Northern Italian cows, fed fresh hay and milked twice a day. The wheels are coddled like babies—brushed, turned, checked and aged according to an exact schedule. Just as far back as this tradition goes, so do the impostors. For centuries, a consortium of Parmigiano Reggiano dairies tracked their cheese production the old fashioned way—with pen and paper. But now they have a better way to fight back. With the help of data, they can weed out the fakes, protecting their proud reputation and that authentic taste on your fork. Explore more stories →
Reach 2, 3, 4… And stretch 2, 3, 4… No, it’s not gym class. It’s you and your mobile phone in Dispatch No. 10.
Visit the swimming polar bear at the smart zoo in Dispatch No. 17.
A bottle of red made with data.
Finding the perfect wine used to mean going to a good wine store, discussing your future meal with a sales person and trying to remember the wine the next time you buy. Now all you have to do is go to a website, like that of Bordeaux-based fine wine merchant Millesima. With data, they can help any customer, anywhere in the world, select the right bottle, for the right meal, the right climate, time of year, you name it. Plus you don’t have to soak off the label to remember the name and vintage when you want to buy it again. Explore more stories →