Milo Simmons

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It’s been a few months since the previous blog post on Maple Learn art, and the possibilities keep on growing.  I recently took part in a presentation on art in Maple Learn, and am here to pass on some tips and tricks to you, dear blog reader.  Maple Learn has a huge capacity for both creativity and ingenuity, and is the perfect program for doing your homework or exploring the world of mathematical art.  Check out the art I made here, and soon even more will be added to the Maple Learn Example Gallery!

 

Feature 1: Shapes

The first drawing in the batch, the “Pi Pie” (happy Pi Day!) was created using Maple Learn’s geometry palette.  The palette provides templates for plotting geometric shapes easily.  Most notably in this art is the use of Polygon() to create the pi symbol.  Insert as many points as you want between the brackets, and the plot will connect each one in order.  I drew pi on graph paper and copied down all the coordinates into Maple Learn.  A lot of work, but the effect was worth it.

 

Feature 2: Functions

This is Milo, a character I made in high school.  In Maple Learn, he is built entirely out of functions.  Let’s take a deep dive into what’s going on:

  • The head and hair are parametric functions.  Folks who’ve taken a math class that includes parametrics know that (x, y) = (cos(t), sin(t)) is the formula for a unit circle.  We can modify the range of t, coefficients in front of sin(t) and cos(t), and add or subtract constants to create partial circles and ellipses.

  • The shaded eyes are done with inequalities; Maple Learn shades inequality areas automatically.

  • Milo’s big smile is the equation of a circle with the added detail “| y < -0.5”.  The bar is the “such that” operator, which allows users to limit the domain and range of the function.

  • The body is a piecewise function: positive slope for x-values on the left side, negative slope for x-values on the right, and nothing in between.

  • The heart shape came from a formula found online.  Mathematicians have discovered some incredible equations!

 

Feature 3: Animation

By final piece sprouts into a beautiful flower as one moves a slider.  After defining a variable in Maple Learn, a slider appears to adjust it.  This can be used for interactive explorations of graphs and animations.  For example:

  • Associate the coordinates of a point with the variable or a function evaluated at the variable.  As the variable changes, the point will move.

  • Associate the range of a parametric function with the variable.  As the variable changes, more or less of the function will appear.

  • Use the variable in the conditions of piecewise functions.  When the variable is in the correct range, the shapes or functions you defined in the piecewise will appear.

 

Mathematics is a beautiful language, and every type of expression can add more to your canvas.  These techniques are just the beginning of beautiful Maple Learn art.  Feel free to share your own art or your favorite tips in the comments! 

When I was in middle school, I was really into puzzles.  At one point I attempted the Three Utilities Problem.  This famous problem is deceptively simple: three houses and three “utilities” (heating, water, and electricity) are represented by dots on a flat piece of paper.  The goal is to connect each house to the three utilities without crossing any lines.

Figure 1: A starting setup.

I spent hours drawing lines.  I eventually looked it up online, and the internet told me that the problem was impossible.  I didn’t believe it, and tried for several more hours until I was forced to accept its impossibility.  I still remember this intense stint of puzzling to this day.

    

Figure 2: Cue twelve-year-old me saying “I’ll get it eventually…”

Looking back, I wonder if this sparked my interest in graph theory.  I know now that the Three Utilities Problem is truly unsolvable.  I know that the graph’s formal name is K3,3 and I know a full graph theory proof explaining its nonplanarity.  Nevertheless, I still love this puzzle, and I’ve recently recreated it in Maple Learn.

To do this, I created a table of x and y values and plotted all of them using the Point() command.  This allows the points to be fully click-and-drag-able.  Line segments joining two points automatically move with the points as well.  We then have a fully interactive graph directly in the Maple Learn plot window.  I can move the “houses” and “utilities” around all I want to try and solve the unsolvable.  I can also create other graphs to further explore planarity, paths, matchings, or any other aspects of the wide world of graph theory.

If you want to check out the document for yourself, it can be found here

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