Skip to main content
U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government

Official websites use .gov
A .gov website belongs to an official government organization in the United States.

Secure .gov websites use HTTPS
A lock ( ) or https:// means you’ve safely connected to the .gov website. Share sensitive information only on official, secure websites.

Web-Based 3D Visualization in a Digital Library of Mathematical Functions



Qiming Wang, Bonita V. Saunders


The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) is developing a digital library of mathematical functions to replace the widely used National Bureau of Standards Handbook of Mathematical Functions published in 1964 [1]. The NIST Digital Library of Mathematical Functions (DLMF) will provide a wide range of information about high level functions for scientific, technical and educational users in the mathematical and physical sciences. Clear, concise 3D visualizations that allow users to examine poles, zeros, branch cuts and other key features of complicated functions will be an integral part of the DLMF. Specially designed controls will enable users to move a cutting plane through the function surface, select the surface color mapping, choose the axis style, or transform the surface plot into a density plot. To date, Virtual Reality Modeling Language and Extensible 3D (VRML/X3D) standards have been used to implement these capabilities in more than one hundred 3D visualizations for the DLMF. We discuss the development of these visualizations, focusing on the design and implementation of the VRML code, and show several examples.
Proceedings Title
Proceedings, 2005 Conference
Conference Dates
March 29-April 1, 2005
Conference Location
Bangor, UK
Conference Title
Web3D Symposium


3D visualization, digital library, extensible 3D, special funtions, virtual reality modeling language, VRML, X3D


Wang, Q. and Saunders, B. (2005), Web-Based 3D Visualization in a Digital Library of Mathematical Functions, Proceedings, 2005 Conference, Bangor, UK, [online], (Accessed July 17, 2024)


If you have any questions about this publication or are having problems accessing it, please contact

Created February 28, 2005, Updated October 12, 2021