Imagine a robot that had to go from point to point consecutively (based on x values) on a two dimensional x-y plane. The shortest path in this case would simply be drawing linear splines thru consecutive data. What if the path is demanded to be smooth? Then what!
Well one may use polynomial or quadratic/cubic spline interpolation to develop the path. Which path would be shorter? To find out thru an anecdotal example, click here.
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Author: Autar Kaw
Autar Kaw (http://autarkaw.com) is a Professor of Mechanical Engineering at the University of South Florida. He has been at USF since 1987, the same year in which he received his Ph. D. in Engineering Mechanics from Clemson University. He is a recipient of the 2012 U.S. Professor of the Year Award. With major funding from NSF, he is the principal and managing contributor in developing the multiple award-winning online open courseware for an undergraduate course in Numerical Methods. The OpenCourseWare (nm.MathForCollege.com) annually receives 1,000,000+ page views, 1,000,000+ views of the YouTube audiovisual lectures, and 150,000+ page views at the NumericalMethodsGuy blog. His current research interests include engineering education research methods, adaptive learning, open courseware, massive open online courses, flipped classrooms, and learning strategies. He has written four textbooks and 80 refereed technical papers, and his opinion editorials have appeared in the St. Petersburg Times and Tampa Tribune.
View all posts by Autar Kaw