Geometric Folding Algorithms: Linkages, Origami, Polyhedra

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Cambridge University Press, Aug 21, 2008 - Computers - 496 pages
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How can linkages, pieces of paper, and polyhedra be folded? The authors present hundreds of results and over 60 unsolved 'open problems' in this comprehensive look at the mathematics of folding, with an emphasis on algorithmic or computational aspects. Folding and unfolding problems have been implicit since Albrecht Dürer in the early 1500s, but have only recently been studied in the mathematical literature. Over the past decade, there has been a surge of interest in these problems, with applications ranging from robotics to protein folding. A proof shows that it is possible to design a series of jointed bars moving only in a flat plane that can sign a name or trace any other algebraic curve. One remarkable algorithm shows you can fold any straight-line drawing on paper so that the complete drawing can be cut out with one straight scissors cut. Aimed primarily at advanced undergraduate and graduate students in mathematics or computer science, this lavishly illustrated book will fascinate a broad audience, from high school students to researchers.

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About the author (2008)

Erik D. Demaine is the Esther and Harold E. Edgerton Professor of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, where he joined the faculty in 2001. He is the recipient of several awards, including the MacArthur Fellowship, the Harold E. Edgerton Faculty Achievement Award, the Ruth and Joel Spira Award for Distinguished Teaching, and the NSERC Doctoral Prize. His research interests range throughout algorithms from data structures for improving web searches to the geometry of understanding how proteins relate to the computational difficulty of playing games. He has published more than 150 papers with more than 150 collaborators and coedited the book Tribute to a Mathemagician in honor of the influential recreational mathematician Martin Gardner.

Joseph O'Rourke is the Olin Professor of Computer Science at Smith College and the Chair of the Computer Science Department. He recently completed a one-year appointment as Interim Director of Engineering. He has received several grants and awards, including a Presidential Young Investigator Award, a Guggenheim Fellowship, and the NSF Director's Award for Distinguished Teaching Scholars. His research is in the field of computational geometry, where he has published a monograph and a textbook, and he coedited the 1500-page Handbook of Discrete and Computational Geometry. Thirty-one of his more than one hundred papers published in journals and conference proceedings are coauthored with undergraduates.

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