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On Knotting with KnotPlot


Speaker: Robert Scharein, Simon Fraser University
Location: 693 Kerr
Start time: Thu, Dec 11 2003, 4:10PM

This talk will focus on several different aspects of KnotPlot, a software tool for visualizing, manipulating, and experimenting with knots on a computer. KnotPlot has found application to mathematical illustration, knot theory research, and mathematics outreach. The first of these areas is perhaps the most useful day-to-day application for the software, as a ``mathematician's drawing tool'' to help produce high quality lightweight graphics for knot theory papers. KnotPlot can also be used for knot theory experiments, an example will be shown on the use of KnotPlot to determine lower bounds for the stick number of knots. An on-going project of linking KnotPlot together with other topology and geometry software\ (such as SnapPea, Knotscape, LinKnot, and the Surface Evolver) allows for many potential experiments in computational knot theory. Finally, we will explore the use of KnotPlot to provide fun and engaging mathematics outreach, whether for demos to schoolkids or in science museum settings. The talk should be of interest to knot theorists and other mathematicians, computer graphics researchers, or anyone who simply enjoys the visual beauty of knots.