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Each time the fractal generating equation is calculated is an iteration.

A cycling color scheme maps the number of iterations in each pixel to a color to produce the pattern you see.

In the Mandelbrot set, for every pixel you must calculate f(z) = z^2 + c over and over again until z becomes either zero or infinity, each of which can take thousands of iterations.

In replacement-based fractals like the tree of knowledge, an iteration is one replacement of each branch with the base trunk+branch pattern.

Each iteration replaces every sub-branch with a smaller copy of the original trunk and branch.

In the universe, an iteration is a single moment in time where the laws of physics are applied to every atom in existence, resulting in the next moment in time.