A Simple Algorithm (Simple)


This algorithm traces the level set of a function of two variables. This algorithm is not intended to be used when an accurate approximation to a level curve is required. Rather, this algorithm is a simple example of how to write an algorithm in Pisces.

How the Simple Algorithm Works

The idea is, well, simple. The user specifies a bounding box and two integers. The two integers determine the number of sub-boxes into which the bounding box is subdivided. We will call the sub-boxes "cells."

The algorithm subdivides the bounding box into equal sized cells, then evaluates the function at the corner of each cell.

For each cell, if all of the function evaluations have the same sign (all positive or all negative), then we assume that there is no solution to f=0 within the cell.

If at least two corners of a cell have different signs, then evaluate the function along each edge and solve for points along the edge where f=0. In this implementation, we only use a linear approximation to the solution. The collection of points where f=0 are then connected to each other (in the order they were generated) with line segments.

Simple Diagram

Schematic diagram of the simple algorithm.

Simple Panel

The panel that controls the "simple algorithm."

Controlling the algorithm from Pisces

This parameter determines the number of intervals into which the horizontal side of the bounding box is divided.
EXAMPLE: If the bounding box is [0,1]x[-1,1] and HorDivisions equals 4, then we will subdivide the interval [0,1] into four segments: [0,0.25], [0.25,0.5], [0.5,0.75], and [0.75,1]. The endpoints of these segments will be used as gridpoints for evaluating the model.
This parameter determines the number of intervals into which the vertical side of the bounding box is divided.

Known Bugs

None, but the algorithm is extremely wasteful in the allocation of memory and in the evaluation of the model. This was done intentionally in order to make the algorithm as easy to understand as possible. Please send bug reports to software@geom.umn.edu.

Algorithm Implemented by

Frederick J. Wicklin
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Last modified: Tue Nov 28 10:06:50 1995
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