The Thread pp 17-24 | Cite as


  • Philip J. Davis


I received my Ph. D. in Mathematics in 1950. As Mathematics is a vast field of inquiry the most vigorous of whose practitioners can muster perhaps only a 10% knowledge, it is worth specifying further that my thesis was written in a subfield known as “analysis” and in a sub-subfield known as “interpolation and approximation.” This narrow corner of mathematics has to do, roughly, with how and in what manner curves and surfaces may be approximated or reproduced by other curves or surfaces that are mathematically simpler. For example, the shape of a circle is reproduced very nearly by replacing it by an inscribed or circumscribed regular polygon. If you replace a circle of radius of about an inch by a polygon of about fifty sides and stand the figure off about one or two feet and look at it, your eye cannot distinguish the difference between the polygon and the circle. This is the principle upon which the CALCOMP plotter, a contemporary computer-driven drawing instrument, is based. The plotter does not draw curves; it draws hundreds of tiny straight line segments, which is easier to do mechanically, and in this way, a visually acceptable approximation of a curve is built up.


Approximation Theory Regular Polygon Slavic Language Roman Letter Russian Woman 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Copyright information

© Birkhäuser Boston 1983

Authors and Affiliations

  • Philip J. Davis

There are no affiliations available

Personalised recommendations