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Mathematics of Computation

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Hermite interpolation by Pythagorean hodograph quintics

Authors: R. T. Farouki and C. A. Neff
Journal: Math. Comp. 64 (1995), 1589-1609
MSC: Primary 65D17; Secondary 53A04, 65Y25, 68U07
MathSciNet review: 1308452
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Abstract: The Pythagorean hodograph (PH) curves are polynomial parametric curves $\{ x(t),y(t)\}$ whose hodograph (derivative) components satisfy the Pythagorean condition $x’{}^2(t) + y’{}^2(t) \equiv {\sigma ^2}(t)$ for some polynomial $\sigma (t)$. Thus, unlike polynomial curves in general, PH curves have arc lengths and offset curves that admit exact rational representations. The lowest-order PH curves that are sufficiently flexible for general interpolation/approximation problems are the quintics. While the PH quintics are capable of matching arbitrary first-order Hermite data, the solution procedure is not straightforward and furthermore does not yield a unique result—there are always four distinct interpolants (of which only one, in general, has acceptable "shape" characteristics). We show that formulating PH quintics as complex-valued functions of a real parameter leads to a compact Hermite interpolation algorithm and facilitates an identification of the "good" interpolant (in terms of minimizing the absolute rotation number). This algorithm establishes the PH quintics as a viable medium for the design or approximation of free-form curves, and allows a one-for-one substitution of PH quintics in lieu of the widely-used "ordinary" cubics.

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Article copyright: © Copyright 1995 American Mathematical Society