Scientific data often contains random errors that make plotting and curve-fitting difficult. The Rational-Spline Approximation with Automatic Tension Adjustment algorithm lead to a flexible, smooth representation of experimental data.
The user sets the conditions for each consecutive pair of knots:(knots are user-defined divisions in the data set) to apply no tension; to apply fixed tension; or to determine tension with a tension adjustment algorithm. The user also selects the number of knots, the knot abscissas, and the allowed maximum deviations from line segments. The selection of these quantities depends on the actual data and on the requirements of a particular application. This program differs from the usual spline under tension in that it allows the user to specify different tension values between each adjacent pair of knots rather than a constant tension over the entire data range. The subroutines use an automatic adjustment scheme that varies the tension parameter for each interval until the maximum deviation of the spline from the line joining the knots is less than or equal to a user-specified amount. This procedure frees the user from the drudgery of adjusting individual tension parameters while still giving control over the local behavior of the spline.
This program was released by NASA through COSMIC as LAR-13694. The italicized text above is from the official NASA release.