Inspired by the work of Noah Salvaterra and his beautiful Tableau visualizations of fractals and L-Systems, I made this visual of the Lorenz Strange Attractor. Edward Lorenz, a meteorologist and mathematician,  developed a set of equations to model atmospheric convection. When plotted in 3-dimensional space, the equations generate a beautiful pattern. If you want to know more, here is a nice introduction to Chaos Theory.

How did I make the plot in Tableau? I used Processing to generate the points (see code below) but this could could as easily be done in Excel.

PrintWriter textFile;

//set parameters
float h=0.008;
float a=10;
float b=28;
float c=8/3;

//set initial conditions
float x=0;
float y=10;
float z=10;


void setup() {
  //initialize output text file
  textFile = createWriter("txtfiles/points.txt");
  for(int i=0;i<10000;i++) {
    x+=h*a*(y-x);
    y+=h*(x*(b-z)-y);
    z+=h*(x*y-c*z);
    //print output to console (optional)
    println(x + "," + y + "," + z);
    //save output to text file
    textFile.println(x + "," + y + "," + z);
    textFile.flush();
    exit(); 
  }
}  

I then imported the text file into Tableau, used X,Y coordinates to make a scatter plot, and applied Z coordinate to Size to simulate 3D.