Domain Coloring and the Argument Principle

Frank A. Farris, Santa Clara University


The domain-coloring algorithm allows us to visualize complex-valued functions on the plane in a single image—an alternative to before-and-after mapping diagrams. It helps us see when a function is analytic and aids in understanding contour integrals. The culmination of this article is a visual discovery and subsequent proof of the Argument Principle, which relates the count of poles and zeros of a meromorphic function inside a contour to the accumulated change in argument of the function around the contour. Throughout, I offer connections to standard learning goals of courses in complex variables.