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  Discussion about math, puzzles, games and fun.   Useful symbols: √ ∞ ≠ ≤ ≥ ≈ ⇒ ∈ Δ θ ∴ ∑ ∫ π -




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Topic review (newest first)

2010-12-12 16:27:28

I will do what I can but it may take a while. Please be patient.

2010-12-12 14:34:36

Yeah. I suppose I may have to settle for a half-accurate curve when dealing with graphic representations of 3D surfaces. I appreciate the value of splines, I just preferred a single function. It seemed cleaner.

2010-12-12 14:30:23

Okay, but remember, that is why they invented piecewise functions and splines. Because it was often impossible to fit one curve through some set of ordered pairs.

2010-12-12 14:20:46

With Maple you can plot a couple of points more along the curve than just the three linear points, as I said, I was trying out the mean values and quarter and three-quarter lengths of the arcs, but the resultant curves were really bad. I figured I could either fit a ton of points or try to figure something else out more logical.

Fitting a thousand different points seemed like cheating... and it created gigantic functions, anyway. I was hoping the solution would be something simplistic and beautiful in that simplicity.

2010-12-12 14:15:54

I am a perfectionist. If there was something I could do over and over and get a better fit every time, I wouldn't stop doing it until I had it perfect. By near perfect I meant thousandths of a decimal off.

2010-12-12 14:12:36

Okay, extremely closely? How big is the error you can stand?

2010-12-12 14:11:34

Exactly. A piecewise made into a single function h(x) or whatever we were calling it.

Part of my obsession with having one function instead of piecewise functions was experimentation I am doing in 3D surfaces which don't look so great when having to work with splines.

But, yes, a single function is the goal. One that matches the piecewise perfectly or at least extremely closely.

2010-12-12 14:00:36


I am playing around with some graphs here. If I understand correctly now, you have two piecewise functions that you want a single exact fit for.

2010-12-12 13:49:39

I will need some time to think.

Thank you in advance.

2010-12-12 13:05:08

Hi Reuel;

I do not think shannon whittaker applies here. The more points you sample it is not unusual for any type of fit to become just an approximation. You may have to settle for that.

There is nothing so far that I know of yet in a DE class for this. I will need some time to think.

2010-12-12 12:52:32

Correct - h(x), the unknown blue curve, is a piecewise function of f(x) from 0 to 75 and g(x) from 75 to 150. The ultimate goal is to fit a single curve defined by a single function.

The reason for using Thiele's Interpolation Formula was that it was a feature in Maple, yes. However, Maple also features polynomial, splines, linear, and so on but Thiele's formula does a perfect job on the regular curves shown in the majority of those pictures I uploaded.

The problem arises when the three primary points of the h(x) - the blue curve - are attempted to be fit for the points - (0,0), (75,25), and (150,50) - fit a perfectly linear line. But if more points from the original two functions f and g are chosen, say, the points of mean value, Thiele's formula does not fit very accurately if it fits at all for it is easy to hit vertical asymptotes as the formula divides by zero.

Polynomial interpolation does a terrible job of fitting the ideal h(x) perfectly.

I have read online about various interpolation methods but most of them are beyond me. One that at least sounded promising is found in this link:

However it is quite beyond me. Do you happen to know if that is an idea worth trying? I am willing to learn anything new, I am just out of ideas on my end.

I will be taking differential equations starting next month and I know the course has something to do with finding unknown functions. Since you have probably already taken such a course, do you happen to know if there is anything similar to this in said class?

Thanks a lot for getting back to me as quickly as you did.

2010-12-12 12:16:48

Hi Reuel;

Please bear with me. It looks like to me that you have a piecewise function f(x) from 0 to 75? g(x) from 75 to 150?

What I meant was you are using thiele's interpolation presumably because maple has a task for that. Is there some math reason why you chose it? Perhaps and osculating polynomial would be better...

2010-12-12 04:13:51

Alright, here are some images from Maple I made, color-coded in hopes to communicate effectively. On my monitor they look as though they exported with low detail to quality, but they are still readable.


2010-12-12 03:43:21


1) Data? The two curves - f(x) and its inverse and on the stated boundaries - provide an infinite number of data points. Take your pick.


Can I ask what you are trying to accomplish by using Thiele's Interpolation to begin with?

Seeing as I have already performed an application of it, it should be fairly obvious "what I am trying to accomplish".

3. use Maple which places you ahead of lots of mathematicians.

My calculus class in junior college just happens to use Maple. It doesn't affect my amateurish status for good or not. Does it matter?


I apologize if my response is annoying, I simply didn't realize the question would be so difficult when it is the problem that has troubled me so. Perhaps it would help make the scenario, which is abstract in itself, easier for you if you imagine, say, a new road is being built that is half of an old function and half of the old function's inverse.

Perhaps I have simply made a mess of everything in attempting to explain it. An easier approach might be to simply start learning about new interpolation methods. I have tried reading about them online but it isn't the same as having someone explain it with the chance for questions and answers.

Also, I will try to get some images to support the question in the hopes that pictures will make the idea easier to understand. I will post again soon with said pictures.


2010-11-29 07:28:03

Hi Reuel;

Sir Arthur Conan Doyle wrote:

Nothing clears up a case so much as stating it to another person.

To digress for a bit!

Your post is somewhat enigmatic to me.

I am quite an amateur in all that I do and even then mathematics is not my strong point so please forgive any ignorant remarks on my part.

If one uses Thiele's Interpolation Formula to fit a curve that passes through three symmetrical points such as

Can I ask what you are trying to accomplish by using Thiele's Interpolation to begin with? If you can answer that you certainly are not ignorant or amateurish at all. Also you use Maple which places you ahead of lots of mathematicians.

Andrew Wiley wrote:

I never use a computer.

Well goody for you Andy! Read Paul Nahins or Doron Zeilberger books to get idea about what I mean, what I am saying...

I am not saying I can solve your problem. But I am willing to play with it with you. Who knows what will happen. At present though I do not have more than a tiny inkling as to what you are trying to do. Also I have no data.

Sir Arthur Conan Doyle wrote:

It is a capital mistake to theorize before one has data. Insensibly one begins to twist facts to suit theories, instead of theories to suit facts.

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