Tips on searching for a pattern

Brian Wichmann

1  Introduction

There are three methods provide to search for a pattern. You should try all three so that you have a basic knowledge of the system.
The system stores some basic geometric properties and details of the source. Hence one can search for specific geometric properties or use a text search.
The simplest search method to use is that of the tree search, but it can be rather slow in locating a pattern.

2  Geometric property search

Given a specific pattern, then you need to analysis the geometry to see what features might be useful in a search. The problem is that with over 1,000 patterns to choose from, one needs to search for unusual features.
One can see what properties might be useful in searching for a pattern by examining the geometric properties listed for each pattern already in the system.
Consider the example: click here.
Firstly, you should check that you agree with the properties listed:
All of the other properties can be inserted into the form for the comprehensive search. This obviously locates the tiling above, but could, in general find other tilings (but not in this case).
In practice, when working from a photograph (say) you may not be able to determine all the properties - in that case, one should enter only those for which you are certain. In this case, the same result would be obtained if you did not enter the symmetry group.
You can now experiment and find out which individual properties reduce the number to the smallest. For instance:
Hence it is a combination of several properties which enables a search to reduce the result to a reasonable number which can be inspected by hand.
If you look at the statistical summary, you will notice a very uneven distribution for every property. This implies that there are no simple rules as to what properties will be most effective in locating a pattern. The only solution is to try various properties until a suitable combination is found.

3  Textual properties

To search for all the tilings in the collection from the Alhambra is easy - just type Alhambra into the text search box in the comprehensive search.
However, one tiling was not as expected, see click here. This is from the Alhambra Palace Hotel and was thought not to be an authentic classical Islamic pattern. It is actually authentic but not in the Alhambra Palace itself. Hence text searches need to be used with care. In this case, the Hotel name has a '-' added so that the search gives the expected result!

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