• Offered by Mathematical Sciences Institute
  • ANU College ANU Joint Colleges of Science
  • Course subject Mathematics
  • Areas of interest Digital Arts, Computer Science, Mathematics, Physics, Algorithms and Data
  • Academic career UGRD
  • Course convener
    • Prof Michael Barnsley
  • Mode of delivery In Person
  • Co-taught Course
  • Offered in First Semester 2017
    See Future Offerings

This course introduces basic mathematical techniques of fractal geometry and dynamical systems, aimed towards understanding and modeling natural shapes and forms from leaves to coastlines. Basic topological and geometrical language to describe and model rough, ("fractal") objects is developed. Relationships between fractal geometry and discrete dynamical systems and chaotic dynamics are emphasized, including symbolic dynamics, stability of attractors, bifurcations and routes to chaos. 

The key ideas are introduced in an intuitive way. The key definitions and theorems are stated but few proofs of theorems are given. However, all students are invited to sit in on the HPO special lectures which provide the rigorous mathematical foundations. 

In computer laboratory sessions students learn how the mathematical results can be applied in practice by running and modifying simple Python programs. 

Learning Outcomes

Upon successful completion, students will have the knowledge and skills to:

Upon successful completion of this course, students will have the knowledge and skills to:

1. Be able to construct and analyse a wide range of fractals.
2. Be able to analyse 1-D dynamical systems in terms of attractors, basins and cascades of bifurcations.
3. Understand how to use fractal geometry to model rough data and natural shapes.
4. (HPO only)  Be familiar with and able to prove basic theorems and solve problems in the area of Iterated Function Systems and fractal (Hausdorff, Minkowski) dimensions.

Indicative Assessment

Projects 8% (LO 1-4)
Assignments 32% (LO 1-4)
Mid semester exam - 25% of total mark (LO 1-4)
Final exam - 35% of total mark (LO 1-4)

The ANU uses Turnitin to enhance student citation and referencing techniques, and to assess assignment submissions as a component of the University's approach to managing Academic Integrity. While the use of Turnitin is not mandatory, the ANU highly recommends Turnitin is used by both teaching staff and students. For additional information regarding Turnitin please visit the ANU Online website.


Three lectures per week and regular tutorials/workshops.

Requisite and Incompatibility

To enrol in this course you must have successfully completed any 2000 or 3000 level Mathematics (MATH) course with a mark of 60 or greater or MATH1116 with a mark of 80 or greater. Incompatible with MATH6116.

Prescribed Texts

Fractals Everywhere, by Michael F. Barnsley, Third Edition (2012,  Dover).

HPO only: Fractal Geometry - Mathematical Foundations and Applications, Kenneth Falconer (Wiley,2000)



Tuition fees are for the academic year indicated at the top of the page.  

If you are a domestic graduate coursework or international student you will be required to pay tuition fees. Tuition fees are indexed annually. Further information for domestic and international students about tuition and other fees can be found at Fees.

Student Contribution Band:
Unit value:
6 units

If you are an undergraduate student and have been offered a Commonwealth supported place, your fees are set by the Australian Government for each course. At ANU 1 EFTSL is 48 units (normally 8 x 6-unit courses). You can find your student contribution amount for each course at Fees.  Where there is a unit range displayed for this course, not all unit options below may be available.

6.00 0.12500
Domestic fee paying students
Year Fee
2017 $3444
International fee paying students
Year Fee
2017 $4590
Note: Please note that fee information is for current year only.

Offerings, Dates and Class Summary Links

ANU utilises MyTimetable to enable students to view the timetable for their enrolled courses, browse, then self-allocate to small teaching activities / tutorials so they can better plan their time. Find out more on the Timetable webpage.

The list of offerings for future years is indicative only.
Class summaries, if available, can be accessed by clicking on the View link for the relevant class number.

First Semester

Class number Class start date Last day to enrol Census date Class end date Mode Of Delivery Class Summary
4783 20 Feb 2017 27 Feb 2017 31 Mar 2017 26 May 2017 In Person N/A

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