B-splines are defined using a set of "knots", "control points", and degree. For the purposes of this challenge, the control points are not needed.

The knots are simply a list of strictly increasing real values (note that real B-splines may have repeated knots, for the purposes of this challenge assume knots are all unique). The degree is a non-negative integer.

The set of polynomial basis functions are recursively defined as (image credit):

enter image description here

where i is the i-th basis function, and p is the degree of the basis function. u is the curve parameterization, and u_j is the j'th knot.

The goal of this challenge is to evaluate all the basis functions for a curve of degree m at location u.


Your program/function should take as input 3 parameters:

  1. A real value for the location u
  2. A non-negative integer for the curve degree m
  3. A list of strictly increasing real values for the knots vector u_j

You may take these parameters in any order desired and may mutate the inputs as long as no additional information is added (for example, you may take the knots vector to be a combination of a real pointer and integer length).

The input may come from any source desired (stdio, function parameter, etc.).

You may assume the input describes a valid B-spline and that u is in the range of the knots vector.


Your program/function should output a list of real numbers describing what the basis functions evaluate to. That is, you should output enter image description here for all 0 <= i <= n-1-m, where n is the number of knots (For 1-based indexing, then 1 <= i <= n - m). The output must be accurate to within 1% or 1000 ULP of the true value, whichever is greater. The output may be to any sink desired (stdout, return value, etc.)


All examples are formatted as such:

u_0 u_1 u_2 ...
N_{0,m}(u) N_{1,m}(u) N_{2,m}(u) ...

case 1:

0 0.5 1
0 1

case 2:

-1 0 1 2
0.5 0.5

case 3:

 -1 0 1 2 3
 0.1 0.9 0

case 4:

 -1 0 1 2 3
 0 0.9 0.1

case 7:

 -1 0 1 2 3 8 10 12 15 20
 0 0.5952381 0.38392857 0.02083333 0 0


Notice that N_{p} depends only on N_{p-1}. That means rather than recursing from the top-down, you could start at the base case and work up. While this is faster execution-wise, I'm not sure if this will necessarily produce the shortest code.

Here's a reference implementation using Python3+NumPy for the bottom-up approach:

from numpy import *

def basis(knots, m, u):
    # base case
    Ns = 1.*logical_and(knots[:-1] <= u, u < knots[1:])
    # work backwards, starting at the base case up to p=m
    for p in range(1,m+1):
        Ns = (u - knots[:-1-p]) * Ns[:-1] / (knots[p:-1] - knots[:-p-1]) \
             + (knots[p+1:] - u) * Ns[1:] / (knots[p+1:]- knots[1:-p])
    return Ns


This is code golf; shortest answer in bytes wins. Standard loopholes are prohibited. You are welcome to use any built-ins desired.

  • \$\begingroup\$ It might be worth noting that the B-splines are equivalent to regular splines. \$\endgroup\$
    – flawr
    Nov 26, 2016 at 22:22
  • \$\begingroup\$ the use of u as both the parameter and as a knot variable was very confusing to me for a few minutes before I realized they were unrelated since I am completely knew to this stuff and have no clue what any of it actually does. Maybe consider using different variables for that? or is it standard in the literature? \$\endgroup\$
    – Maltysen
    Nov 26, 2016 at 22:30
  • \$\begingroup\$ also are the knots one or zero indexed? \$\endgroup\$
    – Maltysen
    Nov 26, 2016 at 22:32
  • \$\begingroup\$ What is k_0,k_1,... in your examples? \$\endgroup\$
    – flawr
    Nov 26, 2016 at 22:50
  • \$\begingroup\$ @flawr oops, that's a typo. Those are suppose to be the knots u_0, u_1, ... \$\endgroup\$ Nov 26, 2016 at 22:51

2 Answers 2


Pyth - 83 82 bytes

Jesus, this is long, probably a few redundancies, but the formulas are long. This is a recursive solution that just implements the formulas given. The reference solution seems to be doing something else, but I don't know what. Maybe if I knew more about what all of this does...


Test Suite.


Python 2, 192 185 bytes

D,E,Q=input();J=0;exec"F=lambda u,m,j,i:+(j[i]<=u<j[-~i])if m<1else(u-j[i])/(j[i+m]-j[i])*F(u,~-m,j,i)+(j[-~i+m]-u)/(j[-~i+m]-j[-~i])*F(u,~-m,j,-~i);print F(D,E,Q,J);J+=1;"*(~-len(Q)-E)

A direct implementation of the formula given with recursion in the lambda and iteration using exec. Prompts for input through the command line upon invocation as u,m,[u_0,u_1,u_2...] with u always input as a float (e.g. if u=1, then u would still be input as 1.0) and outputs each of the len([u_0,u_1,u_2...])-1-u values on a separate line.

Try it Online! (Ideone)


Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.