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Improvements to the Xerox Alto Mandelbrot drop runtime
By Thom Holwerda on 2017-06-28 19:28:02

Last week I wrote a Mandelbrot set program for the Xerox Alto, which took an hour to generate the fractal. The point of this project was to learn how to use the Alto's bitmapped display, not make the fastest Mandelbrot set, so I wasn't concerned that this 1970s computer took so long to run. Even so, readers had detailed suggestions form performance improvements, so I figured I should test out these ideas. The results were much better than I expected, dropping the execution time from 1 hour to 9 minutes.

Articles like this are very satisfying to post, because we can all agree this is just plain awesome, no ifs or buts.

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