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
"Pass the computerized condiment, please."
Look out ketchup and mustard. We’ve gone back to the cognitive kitchen to create Bengali Butternut BBQ Sauce, an unexpected blend of squash, Thai chilies, tamarind and a dozen more ingredients that have never before been slathered together on a chicken wing.
It’s got a slow, warm heat and a kick that becomes even more to savor when you discover that it was concocted by something that has no taste buds. Cognitive computers from IBM Research modeled quintillions of recipes based on thousands of ingredient combinations to predict what new tastes people would find surprising and delicious. And voilà!
The sauce was only bottled for a limited run, but you can whip up a batch at home with this recipe. We even added a label to print. Bon appétit.
Bengali Butternut BBQ Sauce
Approximate Yield: 550g
300g butternut squash, diced
200g white wine
100g rice vinegar
50g butter, unsalted
5g tamarind concentrate
10g chili paste (Sriracha)
4g soy sauce
50g dates, pitted and chopped
2g Thai chili
3g mustard seed
3g turmeric, fresh, thinly sliced
0.4g cardamom, ground
5g coriander leaves
2g Meyer lemon zest, grated
5g salt, to taste
10g Meyer lemon juice
1. Gently sweat the squash in the butter over medium low heat until softened, approximately 5-10 minutes.
2. Add the vinegar, tamarind, water, wine, chili paste, and soy; bring to a simmer and reduce heat to low. Add the dates, chili, mustard seed, turmeric, and cardamom. Continue to simmer and reduce to roughly 250g, for about 20 minutes.
3. Remove from heat; add the coriander leaves and lemon zest. Blend to a very smooth consistency and cool.
4. Season the mixture with salt, lemon juice, and molasses. Chill.