SURFER – a real-time raytracer for algebraic surfaces

SURFER is an open source program to visualize algebraic surfaces in real-time. It was developed for an interactive installation at the IMAGINARY exhibition for the German Year of Mathematics 2008 and was then extended and used in more than 110 exhibitions in 23 countries: for museum installations, schools and home use. The program is a bridge between art and mathematics and can be used to create beautiful pictures while at the same time exploring and learning the underlying mathematics. To create an image you enter a polynomial equation, for example x^2 − x^3 + y^2 − z = 0. SURFER then immediately calculates the points in space that satisfy this equation and displays them using ray tracing and an optimized root finder. In this presentation the program is introduced with many examples and by means of the following video: http://vimeo.com/59006448