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Dissemination of 3D Visualizations of Complex Function Data for the NIST Digital Library of Mathematical Functions



Bonita V. Saunders, Qiming Wang, Sanford P. Ressler


The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) is developing a digital library to replace the widely used National Bureau of Standards Handbook of Mathematical Functions published in 1964. The NIST Digital Library of Mathematical Functions (DLMF) will include formulas, methods of computation, references, and links to software for over forty functions. It will be published both in hardcopy format and as a website featuring interactive navigation, a mathematical equation search, 2D graphics, and dynamic interactive 3D visualizations. This paper focuses on the development and accessibility of the 3D visualizations for the digital library. We examine the techniques needed to produce accurate computations of function data, and through a careful evaluation of several prototypes, we address the advantages and disadvantages of using various technologies, including the Virtual Reality Modeling Language (VRML), interactive embedded graphics, and video capture to render and disseminate the visualizations in an environment accessible to users on various platforms.
CODATA Special Issue


3D visualization, Digital library, embedded graphics, video capture, virtual reality modeling language, VRML, X3D


Saunders, B. , Wang, Q. and Ressler, S. (2007), Dissemination of 3D Visualizations of Complex Function Data for the NIST Digital Library of Mathematical Functions, CODATA Special Issue, [online], (Accessed July 23, 2024)


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Created March 10, 2007, Updated October 12, 2021