In 1972, Carl DeBoor and M.G. Cox independently discovered the relationship between the analytic and geometric definitions of B-splines. Starting with the definition of the normalized B-spline blending functions, these two researchers were able to develop the geometric definition of the B-spline. It is this calculation that is discussed in this paper.
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Definition of the B-Spline Curve
A B-spline curve , is defined by
We note that if, in equation (3), either of the terms on the right hand side of the equation are zero, or the subscripts are out of the range of the summation limits, then the associated fraction is not evaluated and the term becomes zero. This is to avoid a zero-over-zero evaluation problem.
The order is independent of the number of control points (). In the B-Spline curve, unlike the Bézier Curve, we have the flexibility of using many control points, and restricting the degree of the polymonial segments.
The DeBoor-Cox Calculation
In the DeBoor-Cox calculation, we substitute the definition of given in equation (3), into the right-hand side of
So here we go. If [ ), then by substituting equation (3) into the equation (1), we have
Distributing the sums, we obtain
Now since the support of a B-spline blending function is the interval , we have that is non-zero only if [ ), which is outside the interval (where is defined). Thus, . Also is non-zero only if [ ), which is outside the interval . Thus, and we have
If we change the summation limits, we get
Once again then, repeating the calculation and manipulating the sums, we obtain
If we continue with this process again, we will manipulate the sum so that the blending functions have order . Then again with give us , and eventually we will obtain blending functions of order 1. We are lead to the following result: If we define
This can be shown by continuing the DeBoor-Cox calculation times. When complete, we arrive at the formula
This enables us to define the geometrical definition of the B-spline curve.
Geometric Definition of the B-Spline Curve
Given a set of Control Points
It is useful to view the geometric construction as the following pyramid
The DeBoor-Cox calculation is a fundamental result in the geometric modeling field. It was used to exhibit the relation between the analytic definition of the B-Spline curve and the geometric definition of the curve. The geometric definition of the curve, because of its computational stability has become the primary technique by which points on these curves are calculated.