Invisible Airs, Harwood, Stephen Foutune, Council Chamber Room, Bristol, UK

bnr#47 => Invisible Airs, Harwood, Stephen Foutune, Council Chamber Room, Bristol, UK

Hilbert Space-Filling Curve

Object: 22
Date of origin: 1891
Author/inventor/context: David Hilbert
David Hilbert defined this fractal object in 1891, one year after Giuseppe Peano discovered the remarkable existence of space-filling curves that visit every point of a plane. The Hilbert curve is one such entity: it wiggles and twists, yet never intersects with itself; through iteration, it maps all the points of a line onto all the points of a space. The curve’s space-filling properties permit the miniaturisation of electronic components (for example, mobile phone antennas). Its mapping from one to more dimensions also preserves locality. This characteristic favours the successful application of the curve to computing, e.g. to database analysis, data compression and image processing. The Hilbert Curve constructs a fractal order that generally guarantees the spatial proximity of data, while also preserving their one-dimensional sequentiality.

M. Beatrice Fazi