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Complex Variables, Mesh Generation, and 3D Web Graphics: Research and Technology Behind the Visualizations in the NIST Digital Library of Mathematical Functions



Bonita V. Saunders


In 2010, the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) launched the Digital Library of Mathematical Functions (DLMF), a free online resource containing definitions, recurrence relations, differential equations and other crucial information about mathematical functions useful to researchers working in application areas in the mathematical and physical sciences. Although the DLMF was designed to replace the widely cited National Bureau of Standards(NBS) Handbook of Mathematical Functions (A\&S), the goal was a compendium far beyond a book on the web, incorporating web tools and technologies for accessing, rendering and searching math and graphics content. This paper focuses primarily on the research and technical challenges involved in creating the DLMF's graphics content, and in particular, its interactive 3D visualizations, where users can explore more than 200 graphs of high level mathematical function surfaces.
Proceedings Title
Proceedings of the NAM 50th Anniversary Celebration
Conference Dates
January 16-19, 2019
Conference Location
Baltimore, MD
Conference Title
Joint Mathematics Meetings 2019


3D web graphics, special functions, digital library, grid generation, mesh generation, WebGL, X3DOM
Created November 30, 2020, Updated September 29, 2020