Returns a procedure (eg hash-function) of 2 numeric arguments which preserves nearness in its mapping from NxN to N.
max-coordinate is the maximum coordinate (a positive integer) of a population of points. The returned procedures is a function that takes the x and y coordinates of a point, (non-negative integers) and returns an integer corresponding to the relative position of that point along a Sierpinski curve. (You can think of this as computing a (pseudo-) inverse of the Sierpinski spacefilling curve.)
Example use: Make an indexer (hash-function) for integer points lying in square of integer grid points [0,99]x[0,99]:(define space-key (make-sierpinski-indexer 100))
Now let's compute the index of some points:(space-key 24 78) ⇒ 9206 (space-key 23 80) ⇒ 9172
Note that locations (24, 78) and (23, 80) are near in index and therefore, because the Sierpinski spacefilling curve is continuous, we know they must also be near in the plane. Nearness in the plane does not, however, necessarily correspond to nearness in index, although it tends to be so.
- Sort points by Sierpinski index to get heuristic solution to travelling salesman problem. For details of performance, see L. Platzman and J. Bartholdi, "Spacefilling curves and the Euclidean travelling salesman problem", JACM 36(4):719–737 (October 1989) and references therein.
- Use Sierpinski index as key by which to store 2-dimensional data in a 1-dimensional data structure (such as a table). Then locations that are near each other in 2-d space will tend to be near each other in 1-d data structure; and locations that are near in 1-d data structure will be near in 2-d space. This can significantly speed retrieval from secondary storage because contiguous regions in the plane will tend to correspond to contiguous regions in secondary storage. (This is a standard technique for managing CAD/CAM or geographic data.)