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I'm working on a computer code to mesh a N-dimensional space with N-dimensional hypercubes and do some physics in it. I am wondering if I can produce a generic code (with C++ templates, but that is not the subject here) that is ok for N = 2, 3, 4...

My question is about the extraction of the N-M dimensionnal faces of the cubes. These faces are N-M dimensionnal hypercubes in a N dimensionnal space (for exemple the faces of a 3-dimensional hypercubes (a cube) are 2-dimensional hypercubes (squares) in a 3-dimensional space).

Is there a generic way to define the data I need to characterize these N-M faces (different from storing all their vertexes).

To illustrate that here is a example in N=3 dimensions :

  • For the N=3 cube I need at least : a center (3 coordinates) + the side length (1 number)
  • For its N-1=2 dimensional faces (faces) I need at least: a center (3 coordinates) + the side length (1 number) + the plane normal vector (3 coordinates)
  • For its N-2=1 dimensional faces (edges) I need at least : the coordinates of the two points (6 coordinates)
  • For its N-3 = 0 dimensional faces (vertexes) I need a least : 3 coordinates

This way to define the faces is very heterogeneous and not generic at all. What is the most optimal (from a memory point of view) generic way to define a N-M hypercube face in a N dimensional space ?

Thank you very much.

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up vote 2 down vote accepted

The $n-m$ dimensional faces of the $n$-dimensional unit cube are obtained by fixing $m$ of the coordinates each to a fixed value that is either $0$ or $1$. So you need to record an $m$-subset of $[n]$ (your favourite $n$-set), together with a bitvector of size $m$, holding the chosen coordinates (so there are $\binom nm2^m$ such faces). I'll leave it to you to figure out how to parameterise size and position of a scaled, translated copy of the unit cube. If you just want to record the face without associating it to a particular parent $n$-cube, then you must record the $m$-set of coordinates you want to fix, the $m$ coordinate values you want to fix them to, and for the $n-m$ coordinates that vary their minimal value (the maximal value is $1$ more than that, or $\textit{size}$ more if the size is variable).

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