NIST Digital Library of Math Functions Meets Virtual Reality

October 18, 2018

Sandy Ressler

National Institute of Standards and Technology

Kevin Chen

Poolesville High School / NIST SHIP Intern

The Mixed/Augmented/Virtual Reality Innovation Conference (MAVRIC) at University of Maryland

Original Physical Book

Most cited resource in NIST's first 100 Years

M. Abramowitz and I. A. Stegun (Eds.) (1964) Handbook of Mathematical Functions with Formulas, Graphs, and Mathematical Tables. National Bureau of Standards Applied Mathematics Series, U.S. Government Printing Office, Washington, D.C..

DLMF based on Handbook

nearly 20 years/world class experts

I am NOT one of those

world class experts

Updated Book

Existing DLMF Graphics

What would happen if we put all the DLMF surfaces into a VR environment?


New Methods of Visual Browsing

Holding in Hand

Desktop Overview

keyboard navigation


Seriously cool dude!

Why do this?

Novel intuitive interaction..grab like a physical object

Novel color ... new color mapping relating to the math, existing is very minimal

Slicing and dicing simply physically...using results as shape searching

Novel browsing, filtering ...not limited to constraints of book and TOC

It's FUN!!!

FUN is Important

The Serious Stuff

Shneiderman's Info Viz Mantra:

Overview first,

Zoom and filter,

details on demand

How to apply this to DLMF surfaces and info in a VR environment?

  • Math Contributions

Coloring complex surfaces

Still Serious

Surface Intersections

Interactive variable manipulation

WebVR now WebXR

  • Web Baby
  • Still the best for distribution
  • Native understanding of hardware
    • no special software¬†
    • it's all in the browser

These are WEB Accessable

Aframe for the Win

Lots of Ideas for Future Work

  • UI and AR work with the DLMF book
  • Integration with real time math processing
  • shape search / clipping
  • 3D printing

Music: Wes Montgomery "Winds of Barcelona"

Thanks Very Much!

All Done


All dlmf surfaces

about 1/3 of the surfaces

0-9 keypress for random DLMF



By Sandy Ressler


DLMF Meets VR for MAVRIC 2018 UMD

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