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Classroom Notes: Pursuit Curves in the Complex Plane

John Gill December 2013

Abstract: A discussion of several elementary predator/prey-pursuit paths in complex vector fields.

Definition: Zeno contour (ZC) Let g k ,n ( z ) = z + k ,n ( z ) where z S and g k ,n ( z ) S for a convex set S in the complex plane. Require lim k ,n = 0 , where (usually) k = 1,2,..., n . Set
n

G1,n ( z ) = g1,n ( z ) , Gk ,n ( z ) = g k ,n ( Gk 1,n ( z ) ) and Gn ( z ) = Gn,n ( z ) with G ( z ) = lim Gn ( z ) , when


n

that limit exists. The Zeno contour is a graph of this iteration. The word Zeno denotes the infinite number of actions required in a finite time period if k ,n describes a partition of the time interval [0,1]. Normally, ( z ) = f ( z ) z for an underlying vector field, F = f . Zeno contours are simple generalizations of Eulers Method.

z 1 Writing zk ,n = zk 1,n + ( zk 1,n ) and then k ,n = ( zk 1,n ) , under the right conditions we have nt n
dz = ( z ) with ( z ) = f ( z ) z . Thus, for each such ZC there is an underlying vector field dt F = f and it may be possible to determine the parametric form of the ZC: z = z(t ) , t [0,1] .
For example, ( z ) = e z yields the vector field f ( z ) = e z + z and z(t ) = Ln( z0 ) Ln(1 z0t ) . For large values of n the sequence {zk ,n }k =1 , z k ,n = z(k / n) , describes approximately the ZC, with the contour starting at z(0) = z0 and terminating at z(1) = . What follows is an exploration of intersecting trajectories, much like the classical pursuit paths whose mathematical origins goes back to the 18th century. The paths will either be defined parametrically over a time interval of one unit, or through Zeno contours over this interval, where no such closed forms are possible. Various defining equations involving velocity and acceleration will be investigated all briefly and somewhat informally. The idea is to stipulate a prey path {zk ,n }k =1 and then obtain a predator path {wk ,n }k =1 that will intersect the former at a specific instant. The prey contour will be green and the predator red. Starting values or points are green and terminal points are red.
n n n

I. Various paths playing with conditions


We start by investigating sequences {wk ,n } , wk ,n = w(k / n) , giving rise to functions w(t ) , that satisfy the following two criteria: (1a) (1b)

dw dz = H(t ) , H C[0,1] dt dt

w(1) = z(1)

Condition (1b) insures that the contour described by w(t ) does in fact terminate at the terminal point of the original ZC at that precise time, and condition (1a) describes the relative velocities of the two curves. Here is the sort of problem that might be posed: Given a ZC , 1 zk ,n = zk 1,n + ( zk 1,n ) , that defines either a constant vector field F = f (ZC lies on a n streamline) or a sequence of such fields converging to a limit field (ZC lies on a pathline), determine a pursuit contour satisfying conditions (1a) and (1b), with H(t ) = . That is to say the velocities are constant multiples of one another. Determine an initial position w(0) from which the pursuit (predator) point, moving at a multiple velocity of the prey point, catches up with the prey at the termination of the time period.

Example 1 ( z ) = z 2 , implying f ( z ) = z 2 + z and z(t ) =

z0 . Set = 2 and z0 = 2 + i . 1 z0t

3 1 11 3 Then w(t ) = 2 z(t ) + i with w(0) = + i , and 2 2 2 2

dw dz 3 1 =2 , = + i. dt dt 2 2

Suppose we go a bit further and set H(t ) = t h(t ) , where: (1c) w(t ) = h(t ) z(t ) , providing an interesting link between corresponding positions and

velocities of prey and predator. Example 2 ( z , t ) = 2 t z , z0 = 1 . Thus z(t ) = e t , = 1 + 3i . Set H(t ) = t h(t ) . Then
w(t ) = e
1 3 (2t +1) 3
2

CiS(2t 3 + 1) , and w0 .754 + 1.174i , 2.691 + .384i . The pursuit curve


1 (2t 3 3t 2 +1) dz dw = te 3 dt dt

will overlap the prey curve and

In the preceding examples there is only a single degree of freedom assuring the meeting of pursuit curve to prey curve at the end of the preys trajectory at the end of the time period [0,1]. By changing requirements slightly one can add another degree of freedom and describe a more entertaining scenario: (2a) (2b)
d 2w d 2z = H (t ) 2 dt 2 dt
w0 = w(0) chosen and impact point w(t *) = z(t *) for t * [0,1] chosen

Here we assume the acceleration of the predator is functionally related to that of the prey. In particular H(t ) = defines a constant multiple. Choose a value t * , t * [0,1] , so that we determine an impact of predator and prey at that moment. We may also choose a point w0 from which to launch the attack. Then there is a unique path for the predator to follow, given by a derived function w(t ) , as seen in the following example: Example 3 entirety
z(t ) = (t + 1) + t 2i , z0 = 1 ; require w(0) = i , = 2 , and t * = .5 .

Simple calculations give w(t ) = 3t + (2t 2 2.5t + 1)i . The hypothetical prey path is shown in its

The vector fields underlying the example are f ( z , t ) = z + 1 + 2ti f ( z ) = z + 1 + 2i , since

dz = 1 + 2ti . The corresponding Zeno contour may be generated by dt 1 zk ,n = zk 1,n + (1 + 2( k 1) / n)i ) with initial value z0,n = 1 , and lies on a pathline with the n leading tip approaching a streamline of the limit vector field.

We now examine a case where the explicit formula for z(t ) is not available. Instead, a Zeno contour lying in a vector field describes the movement of the prey, infinitesimal step by step, along either a streamline or a pathline. The simple formula derivable from (2a) and (2b) is (2c)
w(t ) = z(t ) + C1t + C2 with C2 = w0 z0 and C1 =

1 [(1 )z(t *) C2 ] , t*

1 Becoming wk ,n = z k ,n + C1(k / n) + C2 for zk ,n = zk 1,n + ( zk 1,n ) . n 1 2 2 xk 1,nCos( yk ( 1,n ) x k 1,n + i( y k 1,n Sin( x k 1,n ) y k 1,n )) . The prey path n begins at z=4+4i. We choose w0 = 1 + 6i , t * = .5 , = 2 . The prey vector field F = f shown
Example 4

zk ,n = zk 1,n +

here is given by f ( z ) = f ( x + iy ) = xCos( y 2 ) + ySin( x 2 )i

Expanding along this direction, suppose we require H(t ) be non-constant, thereby complicating the relationship between prey and predator path acceleration. Of course, this may affect integration to a significant degree, so we choose a simple example:

Example 5 z(t ) = (t + 1) + 4t 3i , H(t ) = 4t , t p = t * = .7 , w(t ) = 8t 4i + C1ti + C2 with


C2 = w0 = 4 + 4i = C21 + C22i , C1 = C11 + C12i = (4t p2 8t p3 C22 / t p ) + i(C22 t p 1) / t p

The terminal vector field for the prey (black vectors) is f t ( z ) f ( z ) = ( x + 1) + i( y + 12) as
t 1 . The initial vector field for the predator is seen in red. In order that the acceleration vectors for both entities be positive multiples of one another the predator might begin its journey in a different direction until it ultimately swings around for impact.

Visualize two thin flow-planes parallel and close together, with the prey on the bottom and the predator on the top. Vector fields (or flow patterns) are different but as the predator approaches the prey it transitions into the flow of the lower field. To reduce the complexity of integration, lets use: (3a)
d 2w d 2z = H ( t ) + , stipulating H(1) = 0 dt 2 dt 2

Example 6
w(t ) =

z(t ) = 4t 2 + (1 + 2t )i , H(t ) = t 1 , z0 = i , w0 = 1 , t*=.5. Then

t3 7 2 + t + C 1 t + w0 and the resulting paths are 6 2

The terminal prey vector field is shown in black and the initial predator vector field is shown in red. In all previous examples we have used constants of integration to establish time and point of contact in advance of performance. Suppose now that the prey moves according to some parametric formula and we look at predators that are linked to the prey influenced by the prey - through some simple equation, and then determine when and where the predator will reach the prey. (4a)

w(t ) = (t ) z(t ) , C[0,1] , (0) < 1 and (1) > 1

Example 7

z(t ) = 3cos(t ) + 3Sin(t )i , w(t ) = (t ) z(t ) with (t ) = 2t . Intersection at t = .5

and z 2.633 + 1.438i .

II. Predator & prey propelled primarily by force fields


We now consider paths in which the prey is propelled by a force field along a streamline (or pathline) and the predator is to some major extent influenced by that same field. We wish to apply just enough external force to the predator to have it intersect the prey path at the same instant the prey is there. Zeno contours (or parametric curves) are appropriate for this purpose, which is a speculative exercise in minimum external force. To begin, assume the streamlines are somewhat regular and assume also the starting points for both paths are vertically aligned, with the predator below the prey and streamlines moving left to right. The first technique is simple: apply just enough external force to the predator to keep in vertically aligned with the prey, but moving gradually up until it intersects and annihilates the prey. Assuming a single force field, f ( z ) = U ( z ) + iV ( z ) + z , the Zeno contours will have the following formulation: (5) zk ,n = zk 1,n + Where k ,n =

1 1 U( zk 1,n ) + iV ( zk 1,n )) , wk ,n = wk 1,n + (U( wk 1,n ) + iV (wk 1,n )) + k ,n + i k ,n , ( n n

1 1 U( zk 1,n ) U( wk 1,n )) and k ,n = (V ( zk 1,n ) V (wk 1,n )) + k ,n . ( n n

The external force (or velocity) applied to the predator at each infinitesimal step is given by k ,n + i k ,n . If a parametric contour is bonded to a force field, it is wise to convert to ZCs and apply the dz z0 formulae above. For example, z(t ) = produces = z 2 = ( z ) and F : f ( z ) = z + z 2 . dt 1 z0t

Although vertical alignment in (5) is in effect, k ,n = 0 until near the end of the predator run.

Example 8

The force field is F : f ( z ) = ( x + y ) + i( y + Sin( x )) . Here U( z ) = y and

V ( z ) = Sin( x ) . z0 = .5 + .5i and w0 = .5 + .1i .

k ,n =

8 10n

k ,n =

3 10n

Original streamline paths: no added velocities

The costs of added propulsion: In simple cases we can gauge the cost of imparting velocities in force fields where much of the movement of both predator and prey result from fluid or other flow. Consider the analogy: suppose you are on one side of a stream having parallel shores and where the velocity of the water changes both from your position to the opposite side, increasing in a continuous manner, and also depending upon position downstream moving along parallel to the shore. If the prey is a tiny boat floating at the far side and you occupy a tiny boat on this side then if you both start drifting simultaneously you will quickly fall behind and will experience no motion toward the prey.

If you have a tiny outboard motor you can in infinitesimal impulses maneuver your craft toward the prey, hoping to intersect with it at a particular time. Suppose the stream is one mile wide dz and motion is given parametrically by z y (t ) = yt 2 + iy = x(t ) + iy(t ) with = 2 yt = 2 xy , dt k k y : 0 1 . For k = 1,2, , n subdivide both time t = and distance yk ,n = . Now, on n n 1 infinitesimal rectangles having length the distance the prey drifts in one time unit and height n
2k k k , = 2 is the velocity imparted to the predator by the flowing stream, and = 1 n n n is that imparted by our engine to keep even with the prey, while = 1 is the vertical velocity
2

imparted by the engine so that predator and prey intersect when t = 1 . If we assume that the expenditure of energy added to the process by the tiny motor on each such rectangle is 1 E k ,n = Ck ,n k ,n = C k ,n2 where k ,n2 = 2 + 1 , then summing and taking a limit gives n
1

E = 4C t 2 (1 t ) + 1 dt =
2 0

8 C. 15

To intersect in half that time simply require = 2 , etc.