Scientific Visualization and Graphics with Mathematica

Scientific Visualization and Graphics with Mathematica

Maintained by Jeff Bryant

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The Importance of Arbitrary Precision

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Mathematica Visualization - The importance of arbitrary precision

Two photon paths are simulated in this animation. The only difference is that the paths are initialized with different precision. The gray path starts with machine precision. The orange path starts with 120 digits of precision using Mathematica's arbitrary precision. At each step in the algorithm, precision is lost. In the case of the gray photon, all precision is lost and the resulting path can no longer be trusted and deviates significantly from the orange path. The orange path ends with 62 digits of precision still remaining. Check out the Wolfram Technology Guide for more on this technology as well as other technology used in Mathematica.

This animation was generating using code supplied by Jeff Bryant and Jeremy Davis. The underlying math was orginally obtained from one of the Hundred-Dollar, Hundred-Digit Challenge Problems published in SIAM News.