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
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 →
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 →
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 →
April 13, 2014.
What’s being made with IBM today?
Here we are—the final dozen (or more) in our Dispatches from a Smarter Planet series. And while you might may not catch a tiger in the final minutes of the Masters broadcast, you could just spot a walrus or a dolphin. It all starts not long after 2pm on CBS.
Watch a symphony of data and the return of the world’s smallest movie star in Dispatches No. 6 & 7.
Chocoholics made with cloud
We’ve all got our own techniques for figuring out what’s what in a box of assorted chocolates: Bite in half, squeeze for texture, push in the bottom, or the smartest way, simply use the key under the box lid. Well, here’s some great news for chocolate lovers everywhere. Lindt Chocolates have found a way to do away with this needless destruction. With cloud computing, the 160+-year-old Swiss chocolatier has made it possible for you to order your own pick and mix truffles and chocolates online, and in your own, custom-designed packaging. So life doesn’t have to be like a box of chocolates— now you know what you’ll get.
Watch the Dispatch | Explore more stories →