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IBM Journal of Research and Development  
Volume 22, Number 2, Page 168 (1978)
Nontopical Issue
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Convex Cubic Splines

by B. Dimsdale
Control curves used in industry are usually planar cubic splines, continuous and single-valued for a specific independent variable. If large slopes are specified at certain points, the spline coefficients, which are computed in order to preserve second derivative continuity of the spline, invariably lead to wildly oscillatory curves. Normally the large slopes occur at the ends of the curve, and this paper deals with such cases, developing methods which have been used successfully to combat the problems encountered. The end point where the difficulty occurs is ignored for the moment and a curve (spline or not) is designed for the remaining points. Then, with the point and slope adjacent to the difficult point known, the design is completed with one or more spline segments so that the resulting curve, which connects the difficult point to the next point, is convex (or concave), and has at least first derivative continuity. For the large finite slope case, two methods are described. The first method constructs the desired curve as a sequence of spline segments with finite slope everywhere, whereas the second expands the interval so that a single spline segment with infinite end slope passes through the difficult point with the required slope. The case of infinite end slope is also treated. In this and the preceding cases, second derivative continuity can be preserved at the juncture under certain conditions.
Related Subjects: Algorithms; Computational methods; Mathematics (applied)