SURFER 1.5.0 setup for Windows 32-bit (for Mac and Linux packages see below).


Source code

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SURFER is a program by the Mathematisches Forschungsinstitut Oberwolfach (MFO) in collaboration with the Martin Luther University Halle-Wittenberg. SURFER is part of the travelling exhibition IMAGINARY by the Mathematisches Forschungsinstitut Oberwolfach.


DirectionGert-Martin Greuel
ProgrammingChristian Stussak (Java renderer) Maik Urbannek (JavaFX), Henning Meyer (previous version)
Concept, CoordinationAndreas Daniel Matt, Anna Hartkopf
DesignChristoph Knoth
Advisor, GalleriesOliver Labs
GalleriesHerwig Hauser
TextsMaria Alberich, Jordi Buendía, Capi Corrales, Lara May, Anna Sabater and Emilio Sánchez

Supported by

SURFER and IMAGINARY are supported by the Klaus Tschira Stiftung (2011-2013) and the Federal Ministry of Education and Research (2008–2009).

With SURFER you can experience the relation between formulas and forms, i. e. mathematics and art, in an interactive way. You can enter simple equations that produce beautiful images, which are surfaces in space.

SURFER is the Java-based extension of the program SURFER2008 that was developed for the IMAGINARY exhibition in the year of Mathematics in Germany.

Mathematically, the program visualizes real algebraic geometry in real-time. The surfaces shown are given by the zero set of a polynomial equation in the variables x, y and z. All points in space that solve the equation are displayed and form the surface. As an example look at x2+y2+z2-1=0, the equation of a sphere. You can easily see that the point (x,y,z)=(0,0,0) is not on the sphere while the points (1,0,0), (0,1,0) and (0,0,-1) for example solve the equation. The program includes a big sample gallery with explanations and a tutorial. It is available in several languages including German, Spanish, Russian, Serbian and Portuguese.

The great thing about SURFER is that you don’t have to understand the underlying mathematics (algebraic geometry) a priori, you can experiment, try, follow your intution and creativity and this way learn maths and create unique art work like pictures or animations.

SURFER is the new, Java-based version of the program SURFER2008 that was developed for the IMAGINARY exhibition in the year of Mathematics 2008 in Germany. The program is platform-independent and runs on a Windows, Linux or Mac operating system. SURFER has been used for many IMAGINARY exhibitions and is constantly improved and extended.