[R] request for collaborator for animation of optimization computations

ProfJCNash profjcnash at gmail.com
Thu May 5 15:59:21 CEST 2016

In an email exchange with Hans Werner Borchers, two optimization
problems were mentioned where the optimization parameters define
positions that can be graphed. One is a chain hanging problem (catenary)
and the other the largest area polygon where the vertices cannot be more
than one unit apart. Three decades ago I used the latter with very
positive reactions to demonstrate optimization to semi-technical
audiences, and I have found that the program will still run. However, it
would be very useful to have a modern R implementation, possibly as a
Web app, that can be used to illustrate optimization problems in a way
that is accessible to non-technical audiences, as well as demonstrating
R capabilities. If possible, I'd like to find a collaborator with skills
in coding the graphics, which "update" steadily as the area in the
polygon increases, as my expertise is weak in graphics. Please contact
me off-list if interested.

For those who are not familiar with the polygon problem, the best known
case is that the largest constrained (or small) hexagon is NOT a regular
hexagon, but almost a pentagon with one edge slightly dented.

For those wanting to see the idea, the MSDOS executable, which still
runs (clunkily) in my Windows XP virtual machine or under DOSBOX for
Linux is at


There is also an approximation to the BASIC source code (I seem to have
lost the exact version) at


This can be run under GWBASIC in DOSBOX or under the PC-BASIC emulator from


Cheers, John Nash

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