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This chapter describes functions for evaluating and solving polynomials.
There are routines for finding real and complex roots of quadratic and
cubic equations using analytic methods. An iterative polynomial solver
is also available for finding the roots of general polynomials with real
coefficients (of any order). The functions are declared in the header
file `gsl_poly.h`

.

__Function:__double**gsl_poly_eval***(const double*`c`[], const int`len`, const double`x`)- This function evaluates the polynomial c[0] + c[1] x + c[2] x^2 + \dots + c[len-1] x^{len-1} using Horner's method for stability. The function is inlined when possible.

The functions described here manipulate polynomials stored in Newton's divided-difference representation. The use of divided-differences is described in Abramowitz & Stegun sections 25.1.4, 25.2.26.

__Function:__int**gsl_poly_dd_init***(double*`dd`[], const double`xa`[], const double`ya`[], size_t`size`)-
This function computes a divided-difference representation of the
interpolating polynomial for the points (
`xa`,`ya`) stored in the arrays`xa`and`ya`of length`size`. On output the divided-differences of (`xa`,`ya`) are stored in the array`dd`, also of length`size`.

__Function:__double**gsl_poly_dd_eval***(const double*`dd`[], const double`xa`[], const size_t`size`, const double`x`)-
This function evaluates the polynomial stored in divided-difference form
in the arrays
`dd`and`xa`of length`size`at the point`x`.

__Function:__int**gsl_poly_dd_taylor***(double*`c`[], double`xp`, const double`dd`[], const double`xa`[], size_t`size`, double`w`[])-
This function converts the divided-difference representation of a
polynomial to a Taylor expansion. The divided-difference representation
is supplied in the arrays
`dd`and`xa`of length`size`. On output the Taylor coefficients of the polynomial expanded about the point`xp`are stored in the array`c`also of length`size`. A workspace of length`size`must be provided in the array`w`.

__Function:__int**gsl_poly_solve_quadratic***(double*`a`, double`b`, double`c`, double *`x0`, double *`x1`)-
This function finds the real roots of the quadratic equation,
a x^2 + b x + c = 0

The number of real roots (either zero or two) is returned, and their locations are stored in

`x0`and`x1`. If no real roots are found then`x0`and`x1`are not modified. When two real roots are found they are stored in`x0`and`x1`in ascending order. The case of coincident roots is not considered special. For example (x-1)^2=0 will have two roots, which happen to have exactly equal values.The number of roots found depends on the sign of the discriminant b^2 - 4 a c. This will be subject to rounding and cancellation errors when computed in double precision, and will also be subject to errors if the coefficients of the polynomial are inexact. These errors may cause a discrete change in the number of roots. However, for polynomials with small integer coefficients the discriminant can always be computed exactly.

__Function:__int**gsl_poly_complex_solve_quadratic***(double*`a`, double`b`, double`c`, gsl_complex *`z0`, gsl_complex *`z1`)-
This function finds the complex roots of the quadratic equation,

a z^2 + b z + c = 0

The number of complex roots is returned (always two) and the locations of the roots are stored in

`z0`and`z1`. The roots are returned in ascending order, sorted first by their real components and then by their imaginary components.

__Function:__int**gsl_poly_solve_cubic***(double*`a`, double`b`, double`c`, double *`x0`, double *`x1`, double *`x2`)-
This function finds the real roots of the cubic equation,

x^3 + a x^2 + b x + c = 0

with a leading coefficient of unity. The number of real roots (either one or three) is returned, and their locations are stored in

`x0`,`x1`and`x2`. If one real root is found then only`x0`is modified. When three real roots are found they are stored in`x0`,`x1`and`x2`in ascending order. The case of coincident roots is not considered special. For example, the equation (x-1)^3=0 will have three roots with exactly equal values.

__Function:__int**gsl_poly_complex_solve_cubic***(double*`a`, double`b`, double`c`, gsl_complex *`z0`, gsl_complex *`z1`, gsl_complex *`z2`)-
This function finds the complex roots of the cubic equation,

z^3 + a z^2 + b z + c = 0

The number of complex roots is returned (always three) and the locations of the roots are stored in

`z0`,`z1`and`z2`. The roots are returned in ascending order, sorted first by their real components and then by their imaginary components.

The roots of polynomial equations cannot be found analytically beyond the special cases of the quadratic, cubic and quartic equation. The algorithm described in this section uses an iterative method to find the approximate locations of roots of higher order polynomials.

__Function:__gsl_poly_complex_workspace ***gsl_poly_complex_workspace_alloc***(size_t*`n`)-
This function allocates space for a
`gsl_poly_complex_workspace`

struct and a workspace suitable for solving a polynomial with`n`coefficients using the routine`gsl_poly_complex_solve`

.The function returns a pointer to the newly allocated

`gsl_poly_complex_workspace`

if no errors were detected, and a null pointer in the case of error.

__Function:__void**gsl_poly_complex_workspace_free***(gsl_poly_complex_workspace **`w`)-
This function frees all the memory associated with the workspace
`w`.

__Function:__int**gsl_poly_complex_solve***(const double **`a`, size_t`n`, gsl_poly_complex_workspace *`w`, gsl_complex_packed_ptr`z`)-
This function computes the roots of the general polynomial
P(x) = a_0 + a_1 x + a_2 x^2 + ... + a_{n-1} x^{n-1} using
balanced-QR reduction of the companion matrix. The parameter
`n`specifies the length of the coefficient array. The coefficient of the highest order term must be non-zero. The function requires a workspace`w`of the appropriate size. The n-1 roots are returned in the packed complex array`z`of length 2(n-1), alternating real and imaginary parts.The function returns

`GSL_SUCCESS`

if all the roots are found and`GSL_EFAILED`

if the QR reduction does not converge.

To demonstrate the use of the general polynomial solver we will take the polynomial P(x) = x^5 - 1 which has the following roots,

1, e^{2\pi i /5}, e^{4\pi i /5}, e^{6\pi i /5}, e^{8\pi i /5}

The following program will find these roots.

#include <stdio.h> #include <gsl/gsl_poly.h> int main (void) { int i; /* coefficient of P(x) = -1 + x^5 */ double a[6] = { -1, 0, 0, 0, 0, 1 }; double z[10]; gsl_poly_complex_workspace * w = gsl_poly_complex_workspace_alloc (6); gsl_poly_complex_solve (a, 6, w, z); gsl_poly_complex_workspace_free (w); for (i = 0; i < 5; i++) { printf ("z%d = %+.18f %+.18f\n", i, z[2*i], z[2*i+1]); } return 0; }

The output of the program is,

bash$ ./a.out z0 = -0.809016994374947451 +0.587785252292473137 z1 = -0.809016994374947451 -0.587785252292473137 z2 = +0.309016994374947451 +0.951056516295153642 z3 = +0.309016994374947451 -0.951056516295153642 z4 = +1.000000000000000000 +0.000000000000000000

which agrees with the analytic result, z_n = \exp(2 \pi n i/5).

The balanced-QR method and its error analysis are described in the following papers.

- R.S. Martin, G. Peters and J.H. Wilkinson, "The QR Algorithm for Real Hessenberg Matrices", Numerische Mathematik, 14 (1970), 219--231.
- B.N. Parlett and C. Reinsch, "Balancing a Matrix for Calculation of Eigenvalues and Eigenvectors", Numerische Mathematik, 13 (1969), 293--304.
- A. Edelman and H. Murakami, "Polynomial roots from companion matrix eigenvalues", Mathematics of Computation, Vol. 64 No. 210 (1995), 763--776.

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