Retro Programming II: the Amiga and the Computational Beauty of the Leaf

In my archaeological exploration of old computer files, I came across another simple but exciting Amiga Basic program I programmed in 1989. It is named “Foglie”, the Italian name for leaves. It was an attempt to explore some ideas of functional plant morphology modelling. The stimulus comes after the reading of the paper by Karl J. Niklas on issue 213 of Le Science (the Italian edition of the Scientific American magazine [1]). The article titled “Computer-simulated plant evolution” described the modelling of plants to study their interaction with the environment. It was a fascinating paper; still, simple and primitive graphics caught my imagination. Nowadays, the field of digital morphology has come to an age (just to mention one, Avatar), and we can have an idea of this progress in the level of realism in movies, video games, and TV programs. However, the organism’s form and shape have always caught my curiosity and interest. The structure of leaf nervation was an intriguing pattern related to my acquaintance with the fascinating fractals objects, another recurrent topic in the pages of scientific magazines of the period.

Continue reading