Schwartz-Christoffel Formula for Multiply-Connected Domains

A reader sent me two news articles (here and here) announcing a generalization of the Schwarz-Christoffel mapping in complex analysis. The paper itself is not freely available, but I found this summary from SIAM news that fills out many of the details.

The Schwartz-Christoffel mapping an explicit mapping from the inside of a polygon to the unit disk that is conformal: it preserves angles (it does usually preserve straight lines). The recent work extends this to give conformal mappings from polygonal regions with polygonal holes to circular regions with circular holes. It was known before this that you couldn’t necessarily map any polygon region with holes to any circular region with holes while preserving angles. The two regions must share the same moduli, which are a sets of numbers you can associate with a region. (These moduli are related to the moduli that arise in the theory of Riemann surfaces.)

The breakthrough is not showing that a conformal map exists when the moduli agree, but giving an explicit means of calculating it. The result is not as explicit as the original Schwartz-Christoffel result, but can be calculated numerically.