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Machine Draws Famous Mathematicians with the Math They Invented

Will Gallia and his programmed Roland pen plotter honor five mathematicians with complex space-filling curve illustrations.
Images courtesy the artist

In programmer Will Gallia’s Space Filling Portraits, complex mathematics become minimalistic portraits that even the most left-brained of us can enjoy. Using a Roland DXY 980 pen plotter custom-programmed with OpenFrameworks, Gallia depicts five mathematicians' portraits out of the space-filling curves they invented. In simple colors on plain white paper, the programmer “takes a raster image, posterizes it using K-means [clustering, a signal processing technique], then plots the path of a space-filling curve in different pens for the shades.”


Gallia’s illustrations honor mathematical theorists David Hilbert, Claude Shannon, John Von Neumann, Bill Gosper, and, in a tri-colored tribute, Giuseppe Peano, the father of space-filling curves.

Watch as Gallia and his Roland fill in the beards and bushy eyebrows of these famous math minds, below:

Claude Shannon

John Von Neumann

Bill Gosper

Giuseppe Peano

David Hilbert

A portfolio of more of Gallia’s pen plotter work can be found on his Work by Roland Tumblr page.


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