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Maurice Yap 6946 Core 3 Mathematics Coursework 4752/02 Methods for Advanced Mathematics

Using numerical methods to find roots of and


solve polynomial equations
This report will explore and compare the advantages and disadvantages of three different numerical
methods used to solve polynomial equations, where analytical methods cannot easily be used. It will
explore instances where, for some reason, they fail and also examine their ease, efficiency and
usefulness in solving polynomial equations.

Change of sign decimal search method


The change of sign method can be used to find an approximation of a root to an equation to a specified accuracy,
using a decimal search.
Polynomial equations can be illustrated graphically as the function y = f(x), as shown below in figure 1. The points
where the curve intersects the x-axis are the real roots of the equation f(x) =0, because the x-axis is where y = 0. If the
curve crosses this line, the values for f(x) when x is slightly larger and smaller than the root will be positive and
negative, either way round (given that the values chosen for x are not beyond any other roots).
A logical and systematic way to use this to solve an equation to a certain degree of accuracy is a decimal search,
where having already identified integer intervals where roots occur, the interval is divided into ten, and f(x) for each of
the ten new values for x is found. A search for a change of sign (+ or -) is conducted and the process is repeated in the
interval where the change of sign occurs until the level of accuracy desired is achieved. After this, the same technique
is applied to find the other roots and thereby solving the equation.

Example of an application of the change of sign method


For example, consider solving the following equation, by first finding the greatest root to five significant figures:
5

6 x 9 x 4 x 20 x +26=0
It is shown in figure 1 that there are three roots to this equation. That which is labelled root c will be attempted to be
found.
x
-5
-4
-3
-2
-1
0
1
2
3
4
5

f(x)
-23749
-8086
-1993
-238
35
26
-1
2
587
3530
12551

Table 1: integer search for changes in sign

From the changes in sign in table 1, (+, green rows or -, red rows), it can be seen that there are roots in the intervals (2, -1), (0, 1) and (1, 2). These changes are shown as the blue rows of the table. The integer interval which contains
root c can be deduced to be (1, 2). The integer search process of finding this interval is shown for the two bounds here:

f ( 1 )=6 ( 1 )5 9 ( 1 )44 ( 1 )320 ( 1 ) +26=69420+26=1


5

f ( 2 )=6 ( 2 ) 9 ( 2 ) 4 ( 2 ) 20 ( 2 ) +26=1921443240+26=2
6

Maurice Yap 6946 Core 3 Mathematics Coursework 4752/02 Methods for Advanced Mathematics

Root c
Root a

Root b

Figure 1: a graph of the function y = f(x), where f(x) = 6x5-9x4-4x3-20x+26

x
f(x)
1
-1
1.1
-4.83784
1.2
-8.64448
1.3
-12.21532
1.4
-15.28096
1.5
-17.5
1.6
-18.45184
1.7
-17.62948
-14.43232
1.8
x
-8.15896
1.9
1.983
2
1.9831
2
1.9832(1.9, 2)
x is in the interval
1.9833
x=2 to 1 significant
1.9834 figure
x=1.950.05
1.9835
Table 2: the
1.9836
search
1.9837
repeated
with an
1.9838
5 significant
1.9839
achieved
1.984

x
f(x)
1.9
-8.15896
1.91
-7.332245319
1.92
-6.465898701
1.93
-5.559037574
1.94
-4.610767706
1.95
-3.620183125
1.96
-2.586366054
1.97
-1.508386836
-0.385303859 x
f(x) 1.98
1.99
0.7838365091.9833
-0.039441481
2
-0.0278410452
1.98331
-0.016235973
x is in the interval (1.98,1.98332
1.99)
-0.004626265
1.98333
0.00698808x=1.9 to 2 significant figures
1.98334
x=1.9850.005
0.018607064
1.98335
0.030230687
1.98336
0.041858951
1.98337
0.053491855
1.98338
0.065129402
1.98339
0.076771592
1.9834

x
f(x)
1.98
-0.385303859
1.981
-0.270478244
1.982
-0.155191106
1.983
-0.039441481
1.984
0.076771592
1.985
0.193449077
1.986
0.31059194
1.987
0.428201146
1.988
0.546277664
f(x)
1.989
-0.004626265 0.664822462
1.99
0.783836509
-0.003465039
-0.002303767
x is in the interval (1.983, 1.984)
-0.001142448
x=1.98 to 3 significant figures
1.89167E-05
x=1.98350.0005
0.001180328
decimal
0.002341786
process,
0.00350329
until a result
accuracy of
0.00466484
figures is
0.005826437
0.00698808

x is in the interval (1.9833, 1.9834)


x is in the interval (1.98333, 1.98334)
A decimal
search is
x=1.983 to 4 significant figures
x=1.9833 to 5 significant figures
performed
on this
interval,
therefore
x=1.983350.00005
x=1.9833350.000005
finding
f(x) for x
values separated by an interval of 0.1. The same process is repeated for each interval a tenth of the size of the
previous, each identified by a change of sign, until the accuracy desired (five significant figures) is achieved. Table 2
shows this process.
The final decimal search shows that there is a root in the interval (1.98333, 1.98334). All values within this interval
round down to 1.9833 and therefore, this approximate value for this root of the given equation is correct to five
significant figures.
This decimal search process can also be illustrated graphically, as shown in figure 2.

Maurice Yap 6946 Core 3 Mathematics Coursework 4752/02 Methods for Advanced Mathematics

f(1) = -1

f(2) = 2

Figure 2: a graphical illustration of y = f(x), showing that the root is in the interval [1, 2)

For the first integer search, the graph in figure 2 shows again that f(1) is negative and that f(2) is positive, and
therefore, the curve must cross the x-axis somewhere in the interval between these two values i.e. there is a root in the
interval (1, 2).
f(1.98334) > 0

f(1.98333) < 0

Figure 3: graphical illustration of y = f(x) that the root is in the interval [1.98333, 1.98334)

For the final decimal search, the graph in figure 3 shows again that f(1.98333) is negative and that f(1.98334) is
positive, and therefore, the curve must cross the x-axis somewhere in the interval between these two values i.e. there is
a root in the interval (1.98333, 1.98334).
The same process can be repeated with roots a and b to give answers of x = -1.3889 and x = 0.97356 respectively, each
to five significant figures. The original equation has therefore been solved.

Example of a failure of this method


For example, consider the following equation:

1323 x 5 11277 x 4 +14397 x 3+ 68513 x 280476 x153760=0

Maurice Yap 6946 Core 3 Mathematics Coursework 4752/02 Methods for Advanced Mathematics

Root b

Root c

Root d (repeated)

f(4) > 0

f(5) > 0

Root a

Figure 4: a graph of the function y = f(x), where f(x) = 1323x5-11277x4+14397x3+68513x2-80476x-153760, showing that there is a repeated root

When the graph for y = f(x) (figure 4) for this equation is plotted, it only touches the x-axis at a single point. It never
crosses it. In this case, on both sides of the root of f(x) = 0 (intersection with the x-axis), f(x) > 0 so the sign is always
remains positive and no change of sign actually occurs.
This is the case because there is a repeated root for the equation above. Because it happens to be an irrational one, and
therefore nonterminating, no amount of repetitions of the decimal search process in the interval (4, 5) will return a
value of zero (and thereby identify the root outright).

Missed root here

x
-3
-2
-1
0
1
2
3
4
5
6

f(x)
-919360
-56700
-31768
-153760
-161280
-63580
18200
9792
42560
612260

Missed root here

Table 3: integer search with missed roots

Table 3 shows how an integer search suggests that there are just two roots in the interval searched. Not only does it
show that the technique does not suggest that there is a root in the interval, (4, 5), it also does not show that there is a
root in the interval (-2, -1) because there are two distinct roots occurring close together within the said interval, and
both f(-2) and f(-1) are negative so it wouldnt be seen to be necessary to conduct a decimal search on this interval.
The change of sign method fails here because it has failed to identify the root in the intervals (-2,-1) and (4, 5).

Newton-Raphson method
This method works by taking an estimated root and finding where its tangent to the curve crosses the x-axis. The xcoordinate of this intersection is taken and its tangent to the curve is taken and the process is repeated. In most cases
the x-coordinate becomes closer to the root with each repetition.
Taking x0 as the first rough estimate, the point on the curve for this x-value would be (x 0, f(x0)). A general straight line
can be written in the form

y y 0 =m(xx 0)
The tangent to the curve, with the gradient being the derivative of f(x) at x 0 (f(x0)), would be expressed as the
following function:
6

Maurice Yap 6946 Core 3 Mathematics Coursework 4752/02 Methods for Advanced Mathematics

yf ( x 0) =f ' ( x ) [ xx 0 ]
The next x-coordinate will be called x1. It is where the line stated above crosses the x-axis, in other words, when y = 0.
Substituting this into the function above, as well as changing x to x1 to make it the first iteration, it can be rearranged
to give the following:

x 1=x 0

f (x 0)
f '(x )

When this is generalised for when x0 = xn, the inductive formula is given as:

x n+1=x n

f ( x n)
f ' ( x n)

Example of an application of the Newton-Raphson method


The Newton-Raphson method will be used to solve the following equation:
3

x +3 x 13 x +4=0

Root k

Root l

Root m
Figure 5: a graph of the function y = f(x), where f(x) = x3+3x2-13x+4

Because f(x) = 0 where the curve intersects the x-axis, it can be seen in figure 5 that there are three distinct roots to the
equation, labelled as k, l and m. They are in the intervals (-6, -5), (0, 1) and (2, 3) respectively. Without a graph, these
intervals could have been obtained using an integer search using the change of sign method.
As previously explained, the iterative formula for the Newton-Raphson method is:

x n+1=x n

f ( x n)
f ' ( x n)

Because here, f(x) = x3+3x2-13x+4, f(x) = 3x2+6x-13. Substituting these into the iteration:
3

x n+1=x n

x + 3 x 13 x +4
3 x 2 +6 x13

This will be used, first, to find an approximation for root k, in the interval (-6, -5). The value for x 0 will be -6 as it is
the closest integer to the root according to the graph.

x 0=6

Maurice Yap 6946 Core 3 Mathematics Coursework 4752/02 Methods for Advanced Mathematics

x 1=x 0

3
2
x 03 +3 x 0213 x0 + 4
(6 ) +3 (6 ) 13 (6 ) + 4
=
(
6
)

=5.559322 *
2
3 x 02 +6 x 013
3 (6 ) +6 (6 )13

x 2=x 1

3
2
x 13 +3 x1213 x 1+ 4
(5.56 ) +3 (5.56 ) 13 (5.56 ) +4
=
(
5.56
)

=5.498338 *
2
3 x 12+ 6 x113
3 (5.56 ) +6 (5.56 )13

Further iterations using this formula are shown in table 4.

Maurice Yap 6946 Core 3 Mathematics Coursework 4752/02 Methods for Advanced Mathematics

x0
x1
x2
x3
x4

-6
-5.559322
-5.498338
-5.497205
-5.497204

f(xn)
-26
-2.827377677
-0.050643003
-1.73165 x10-5
-2.01794 x10-12

f(xn)
59
46.362252
44.705122
44.674551
44.674541

Table 4: iterations for root k. All values of xn have been found using the iterative formula shown above

From the fact that the root is close to -5.497204, and xn for values where n>3 round to this value (to seven significant
figures), it can be suggested that it lies in the interval [-5.4972035, -5.4972045), or that root k is x=5.4972040.0000005, which can also be expressed as x = -5.4972 to five significant figures, since both bounds round
to this value. It has taken four iterations to obtain this answer.
The verification for these bounds is as follows:
3

f (5.4972035 )=(5.4972035 ) + 3 (5.4972035 ) 13 (5.4972035 ) +4=3.78 10 > 0


f (5.4972045 )=(5.4972045 )3+ 3 (5.4972045 )213 (5.4972045 ) +4=6.85 106 <0
They are verified as one is positive and the other is negative.

Graphical explanation
The tangent to the curve at the initial value of x, x0 = -6 is taken (figure 6). From this x-coordinate, the tangent to the
curve is taken and the process is repeated three times (figure 7). Vertical lines are drawn to show where the next
iteration of x is on the curve.

x0 = -6

x1 -5.56

x2 -5.50
Root k

Root k

Figure 6: a graph of the function


x3+3x2-13x+4, showing the first iteration

Figure 7: only x1 and x2 have been labelled as due to the resolution, it would y =
be impractical to label further iterations of x

Further roots
Table 5 shows that for the root l in the interval (0, 1), it has taken four iterations of this method to obtain the answer x
= 0.33681 to five significant figures.

Maurice Yap 6946 Core 3 Mathematics Coursework 4752/02 Methods for Advanced Mathematics

x0
x1
x2
x3
x4

0
0.3076923
0.3365018
0.3368101
0.3368101

f(xn)
4
0.313154301
0.003280019
3.80968 x10-7
5.32907 x10-15

f(xn)
-13
-10.8698
-10.6413
-10.6388
-10.6388

Table 5: Newton-Raphson iterations for root l

The verification for the bounds for this approximation is as follows:

f ( 0.336805 ) =( 0.336805 )3 +3 ( 0.336805 )213 ( 0.336805 ) +4=5.42 105 >0


3

f ( 0.336815 ) =( 0.336815 ) +3 ( 0.336815 ) 13 ( 0.336815 ) +4=5.22 10 <0


They are verified as one is positive and the other is negative.
Table 6 shows that for the root m in the interval (2, 3), it has taken four iterations of this method to obtain the answer x
= 2.1604 to five significant figures.
x0
x1
x2
x3
x4

2
2.181818
2.160698
2.160394
2.160394

f(xn)
-2
0.30353118
0.004248277
8.7684 x10-7
3.55271 x10-14

f(xn)
11
14.3719
13.97004
13.96428
13.96428

Table 6: Newton-Raphson iterations for root m

f ( 2.16035 ) =( 2.16035 )3+ 3 ( 2.16035 )2 13 (2.16035 )+ 4=6.18 104 < 0


3

f ( 2.16045 ) =( 2.16045 ) + 3 ( 2.16045 ) 13 (2.16045 )+ 4=7.78 10 > 0

Example of a failure of this method


The Newton-Raphson method should converge towards the root which is intended to be found. It does sometimes fail
to do this, either by diverging away from the root towards infinity or by converging towards a different root.
One of the causes of this is that the initial estimate, x 0, is close to a turning point. Consider this equation:

0.48 x 4 1.09 x3 +0.89 x 2+ 1.16 x 1.87=0

Maurice Yap 6946 Core 3 Mathematics Coursework 4752/02 Methods for Advanced Mathematics

Root d
Root e

Figure 8: a graph of the function y = f(x), where f(x) = 0.48x41.09x3+0.89x2+1.16x1.87=0

Figure 8 shows that there are two roots to this equation. The Newton-Raphson method will be applied to try to find
root d with an estimate by eye of x0 = -2.
The iteration formula is given by the following:

x n+1=x n

0.48 x 41.09 x 3+ 0.89 x 2 +1.16 x1.87


1.92 x 33.27 x 2+ 1.78 x +1.16

Table 7 shows eighteen iterations of x in a tabular format.


x0
x1
x2
x3
x4
x5
x6
x7
x8
x9
x10
x11
x12
x13
x14
x15
x16
x17
x18

-2
1.4166667
1.0002484
0.3829392
1.4726444
1.0521629
0.5130953
1.7942253
1.3195768
0.9027871
-0.026547
1.6845599
1.2323494
0.8028538
-1.400101
-1.643706
-1.660733
-1.660956
-1.660956

f(x)
0.41
-3.472899
-1.390559
-1.36681
-3.970262
-1.52211
-1.221009
-8.193961
-2.749496
-1.218257
-1.900147
-6.466232
-2.235909
-1.128521
-0.602357
-0.035315
-0.00045
-8.04 x10-8
-2 x10-15

f'(x)
-0.12
-8.33993
-2.25261
1.254293
-9.44218
-2.8236
0.953072
-17.2632
-6.59684
-1.31089
1.110478
-14.2992
-5.2059
-0.51228
-2.47268
-2.07403
-2.02059
-2.01986
-2.01986

Table 7

Instead of giving the correct result for root f, the application of the method has instead converged towards x = -1.6610
to five significant figures root e. Figure 9 shows graphically why this has happened. Because x = -2 is close to a
turning point, the gradient of the tangent near it is changing at a quick rate as it turns around the local maxima. It is
therefore not relatively consistent, where this method works best. Its shallow gradient can be illustrated by the large
number of iterations required to obtain an answer (at least compared to the previous example).
6

Maurice Yap 6946 Core 3 Mathematics Coursework 4752/02 Methods for Advanced Mathematics

Because the tangent of x = -2 has a negative gradient as it is on the other side of the turning point to root d, it crosses
the x-axis to the left of this initial x value and so begins to converge towards the root just less than x = -2, instead of
the one just more than it, which was the one desired.

Figure 9: y = f(x), showing graphically all the iterations of the formula required to find the root

In figure 9, the tangent to the curve at x = 2 crosses the y-axis on the right side of the turning point, and so successive
iterations converge towards the root on the right side of the turning point (root e) instead of that on the left (root d).
This is what causes the failure for finding root d, with x 0 = -2.

Rearrangement into x = g(x) method


This method works by rearranging the equation f(x) = 0 into another where x is the subject, x = g(x). An iterative
formula derived from this is then applied to this new function:

x n+1=g ( x n )
The application of this produces a converging sequence of numbers towards the value at which the line y = x crosses y
= g(x) on a graph. Algebraically, this, through simultaneously solving through equating these two equations, gives, at
the point where x = g(x), the x value for which f(x) = 0. It therefore finds the root.

Example of an application of the rearrangement method


This method will be used to solve the following equation:
3

99 x +5 x 7 x+ 2=0
This can be arranged into many different new equations for x = g(x). One of these is:

1
5 x 27 x +2
1
2
x=
=( ( 5 x 7 x +2 ) )3
99
99
3

Figure 10 graphically shows that there is one root to the equation; it is in the interval (0, 1).
Therefore, taking x0 = 0 (judging by eye), the application of the iterative formula provides the sequence shown in table
8. At the 17th iteration, the same result is given as the previous iteration, to six significant figures. This value rounds to
0.20047 to five significant figures.
The verification for this is as follows, by taking the values of f(x) for the upper and lower bounds of this value:
3

f ( 0.200465 ) =99 ( 0.200465 ) +5 ( 0.200465 ) 7 ( 0.200465 )+ 2=0.000139027406082125>0

Maurice Yap 6946 Core 3 Mathematics Coursework 4752/02 Methods for Advanced Mathematics

f ( 0.200475 ) =99 ( 0.200475 )3 +5 ( 0.200475 )2 7 ( 0.200475 )+ 2=0.000030284610015625<0


They are verified as one is positive and the other is negative.

Root

Figure 10: a graph of the function y = f(x), where f(x) = -99x3+5x2-7x+2

x0
x1
x2
x3
x4
x5
x6
x7
x8
x9
x10
x11
x12
x13
x14
x15
x16
x17

0.000000
0.272353
0.167400
0.213859
0.194787
0.202838
0.199481
0.200888
0.200300
0.200546
0.200443
0.200486
0.200468
0.200475
0.200472
0.200474
0.200473
0.200473

Table 8: g(x) iterations

x 0=0

5( 0)27(0)+2
x 1=
=0.272353 *
99
3

Maurice Yap 6946 Core 3 Mathematics Coursework 4752/02 Methods for Advanced Mathematics

5( 0.27)27(0.27)+2
x 2=
=0.167400 *
99
3

Figure 11 graphically shows how the rearrangement of f(x) = 0 converges towards the root. The two lines mentioned
have been plotted and the iterative formulas graphical illustration is shown in blue. The blue line shows convergence
in a rotating pattern like a cobweb.
From the point on the curve y = g(x0), a horizontal line is drawn across to meet the line y = x, so that the x value is
found where both lines have the same y value. This new value for x becomes x 1. From here, a horizontal line, again, is
drawn across from the curve at the point which has the x value of x 1 and the same process is repeated to find
subsequent values of xn, where n > 1. These values of x converge towards the value of x where the two lines intersect,
the same as the root of f(x). The labelled graphical values of x n correspond with those in the table.

x2

x0

x4
x5

x3

x1

Figure 11: graphical illustration of y = g(x) (red line) and y = x (green line) with the rearrangement iterations shown in blue

The gradient of g(x)


This method works only when the absolute value of the gradient of g(x) (i.e. g(x)) at the point of intersection (the root
of f(x) = 0) is less than 1. This is because its gradient must be smaller in magnitude than the line y = x, otherwise, the
iteration will diverge away from the root as the two lines become further and further apart.
For negative values of g(x), the iterations graphically form a cobweb pattern, like my example, as the x values
oscillate around the root. For positive values of g(x), the iterations graphically form a staircase pattern, as the x value
for the root is approached from the same direction.
Generally, the smaller the magnitude of g(x), the fewer iterations are required to achieve a certain accuracy of the
intersection and vice versa.
In the particular example given, the method of rearrangement works in a cobweb pattern because g(x) at the root is
about -0.42, which is negative and smaller than 1 in magnitude.
This was achieved by substituting x = 0.2 into the expression for g(x):

(
g ( x )=
'

10 x7
99

)((

5 x 27 x+2
99
3

))

2
3

Maurice Yap 6946 Core 3 Mathematics Coursework 4752/02 Methods for Advanced Mathematics

1
3

10
7
( 0.2 )
99
99

( )(( )

g' ( 0.2 ) =

1
( 5 ( 0.2 )27 ( 0.2 ) +2 )
99

( ))(( )

2
3

0.418 |0.418|< 1

Failure of this method


Another way of rearranging the equation f(x) = 0 is shown below. This equation will be referred to as x = h(x).
3

x=

99 x +5 x +2
7

As an iterative formula, this is:

99 x n3 +5 x n2+ 2
x n+1=
7
Table 9 shows iterations of this formula, again starting with x 0 = 0. It can be deduced that xn does not find the root
because the values seem to reoccur from the seventh and eighth iterations onwards, according to this degree of
accuracy.
Figure 12 graphically illustrates this failure, showing that the first couple of iterations form a cobweb pattern, but then
goes round and round on itself, forming a stationary rectangle. This is the observation that the values for each iteration
of xn change from 0.013857 and 0.285814 and keep doing so, seemingly forever.
x0

x1

0.285714

x2

0.014161

x3

0.285817

x4

0.013846

x5

0.285814

x6

0.013857

x7

0.285814

x8

0.013857

x9

0.285814

x10

0.013857

x11

x1428

0.285814

0.013857

x1429

0.285814

x1430

0.013857

x1431

0.285814

Table 9: h(x) iterations

Using the rearrangement method with h(x) fails because at the root, x 0.2, h(x) has a greater magnitude that 1:
'

h ( x )=

( 10297 x ) x
7

'
h ( 0.2 )=

( 10297 ( 0.2 ) ) ( 0.2 )


7

1.41|1.41|>1

Maurice Yap 6946 Core 3 Mathematics Coursework 4752/02 Methods for Advanced Mathematics

Because this value is negative, the iteration has a cobweb pattern, but it also does not converge towards the root.

x0

x2

x1

Figure 12: graphical illustration of y = h(x) (red line) and y = x (blue line) with the rearrangement iterations shown in green. It is impractical to
show labels for further iterations

Maurice Yap 6946 Core 3 Mathematics Coursework 4752/02 Methods for Advanced Mathematics

Comparison of the methods


Comparative application of all three methods
I will use the three methods explored to find the root of the equation, 6x 5-9x4-4x3-20x+26 = 0 in the interval (-2, -1).

Change of sign decimal search method


The decimal search finds that the root is between the values -1.388863 and -1.388862 and so x = -1.3889, correct to
five significant figures. This took six iterations since bounds of seven significant figures are required to ensure an
accuracy of five significant figures. Table 10 shows these iterations.
x
-2
-1.9
-1.8
-1.7
-1.6
-1.5
-1.4
-1.3
-1.2
-1.1
-1
x
-1.389
-1.3889
-1.3888
-1.3887
-1.3886
-1.3885
-1.3884
-1.3883
-1.3882
-1.3881
-1.388

f(x)
-238
-174.41884
-122.52448
-80.70832
-47.51296
-21.625
-1.86784
12.80552
23.31968
30.48404
35
f(x)
-0.022685742
-0.006189195
0.010302388
0.026789005
0.04327066
0.059747353
0.076219084
0.092685855
0.109147667
0.12560452
0.142056416

x
-1.4
-1.39
-1.38
-1.37
-1.36
-1.35
-1.34
-1.33
-1.32
-1.31
-1.3
x
-1.3889
-1.38889
-1.38888
-1.38887
-1.38886
-1.38885
-1.38884
-1.38883
-1.38882
-1.38881
-1.3888

f(x)
-1.86784
-0.187924509
1.442231859
3.023594836
4.557118054
6.043743125
7.484399706
8.880005574
10.2314667
11.53967732
12.80552
f(x)
-0.006189195
-0.004539813
-0.002890481
-0.001241199
0.000408034
0.002057217
0.00370635
0.005355434
0.007004468
0.008653453
0.010302388

x
-1.39
-1.389
-1.388
-1.387
-1.386
-1.385
-1.384
-1.383
-1.382
-1.381
-1.38

f(x)
-0.187924509
-0.022685742
0.142056416
0.306302934
0.47005478
0.633312923
0.796078328
0.958351961
1.120134786
1.281427764
1.442231859

x
-1.38887
-1.388869
-1.388868
-1.388867
-1.388866
-1.388865
-1.388864
-1.388863
-1.388862
-1.388861
-1.38886

f(x)
-0.001241199
-0.001076273
-0.000911348
-0.000746424
-0.0005815
-0.000416576
-0.000251653
-8.67305E-05
7.81915E-05
0.000243113
0.000408034

Table 10: decimal search iterations for f(x)

Newton-Raphson method
Using x0 = -1, the Newton-Raphson method takes seven iterations to find the same result to five significant figures,
shown in table 11.
x0
x1
x2
x3
x4
x5
x6
x7

-1
-2.029411765
-1.679330827
-1.473319358
-1.398239983
-1.38899275
-1.3888625
-1.388862474

Table 11: iterations to solve the chosen root of f(x) using the Newton-Raphson formula

Maurice Yap 6946 Core 3 Mathematics Coursework 4752/02 Methods for Advanced Mathematics

Because Newton-Raphson does not give an interval which the root is in, it is necessary to verify the assumed result.
This is shown below, using the interval bounds for the approximation of x = -1.3889 to 5 significant figures.

f (1.38885 )=0.002057217> 0
f (1.38895 )=0.0144368<0
Rearrangement into x = g(x) method
A rearrangement of f(x) as an iterative formula is the following:

9 x n4 + 4 x n3 +20 x n26
x n+1=
6

1
5

Iterations are shown in table 12. The root is shown to be x = -1.3889 to five significant figures.
x0
x1
x2
x3
x4
x5
x6
x7
x8
x9
x10
x11
x12
x13
x14

-1
-1.46868
-1.34256
-1.40875
-1.37891
-1.39351
-1.38662
-1.38993
-1.38835
-1.38911
-1.38875
-1.38892
-1.38884
-1.38888
-1.38886

Table 12: x = g(x) iterations

Again, for the same reasons as for the Newton-Raphson method, this answer must be verified using the upper and
lower bounds of the approximation interval.

f (1.38885 )=0.002057217> 0
f (1.38895 )=0.0144368<0

Speed and efficiency comparison


In order to produce the same approximation with the same accuracy for the chosen root, in this particular case, the
decimal search method required the least number of iterations, with six needed. It required the highest number of
single calculations.
The Newton-Raphson method required seven iterations. It was the method requiring the least number of single
calculations.
The most iterations taken was the rearrangement method, with 14 needed.
In terms of speed, using spreadsheet software, the Newton-Raphson is quickest. On spreadsheet software, it requires
an x0 value, a spreadsheet formula for f(x), a spreadsheet formula for f(x) and a very simple iteration spreadsheet
formula to be manually inputted. The differentiation is usually quite simple because each term of x has a positive,
whole number power.

Maurice Yap 6946 Core 3 Mathematics Coursework 4752/02 Methods for Advanced Mathematics

The rearrangement method took longer to converge and it can often take a large number of iterations to converge to an
accuracy of five significant figures. Rearrangement is also quite easy and quick to do.
The decimal search was the slowest in finding the roots. Although it only took six iterations, without extremely
complex spreadsheet formulas, each iteration needed to be set up individually on spreadsheet software through
identifying the two bounds from the previous iteration. Simple and reliable though this method is, it is much more
time-consuming than the other two methods. Each iteration also included nine unique calculations involving x.

Technologies
Software-based spreadsheet
Using spreadsheet software like Google Docs Spreadsheet, Microsoft Excel or Numbers, all three methods are quite
easy and quick to apply. Spreadsheets have the ability to quickly copy formulas and reapply them in a very short
amount of time. This is done by keyboard shortcuts, context menus or by dragging or double clicking a cells fill
handle. They can also be made to make the processes automatic through the use of complex spreadsheet formulas, a
very strong advantage for bulk calculations of roots of equations. A disadvantage is that all mathematical formulas
must be typed in using a non-dedicated QWERTY keyboard on desktops and laptops, which can be very clunky and
tedious. This is even worse on tablets and smartphones, where the user must scroll through many pages of symbols on
their keyboard to find commonly used mathematical symbols.
Using purely software-based spreadsheets, the decimal search method is easiest to use as it does not require any sort of
mathematical calculation, like rearranging or differentiating, just simply typing in a spreadsheet formula for the
function f(x).

Scientific calculator
Iterative methods, like Newton-Raphson or rearranging for x = g(x), can be easily done on scientific calculators using
the answer button, or equivalent. A formula can be typed in, replacing x n with the answer button, and pressing the
equals button gives the result for the next iteration.
The decimal search can, at a push, also be used, but it would take a very long time a very many button presses,
because each calculation for f(x) must be typed in separately nine separate polynomial calculations for each
iteration.
A disadvantage of using a scientific calculator is the fact that the small display and linear input makes it easy to forget
to close brackets, resulting in an error.
Newton-Raphson is, in my opinion, the easiest method to use with just a scientific calculator as it is iterative and the
calculation would normally be relatively straightforward to work out and type in.

Graphical calculator
In the same way as scientific calculators, iterative formulas are easy to apply using graphical calculators. Some also
have the advantage of being able to differentiate with respect to a variable like x, meaning the user doesnt have to if
they are lazy.
Iterative formulas can also be put into tables, much like a spreadsheet. This makes it easier to spot convergence. Using
the table calculator function, the decimal search can also easily be used.
I consider the decimal search the easiest method to use because it is easiest to type in just a simple polynomial
equation, as opposed to complex iterative formulas of the other two methods.

Graphing software
Advanced graphing software like Autograph can be used to apply the Newton-Raphson and rearrangement methods in
a graphical way.
For Newton-Raphson, Autograph requires for the graph of y = f(x) to be selected, then bringing up the context menu
and selecting the Newton-Raphson option brings up a dialog box. This enables iterations of the formula to be plotted
with an x0 value.
The x = g(x) method can be graphically plotted in the same way, but first, the line y = x must be plotted.

Maurice Yap 6946 Core 3 Mathematics Coursework 4752/02 Methods for Advanced Mathematics

In my opinion, both these methods are equally easy to apply using Autograph software, but the Newton-Raphson
method is the most reliable, so it would probably be my preference.
* For presentation purposes, the values printed are rounded, and not exact values. Subsequent uses of this
number are shown rounded further, however, unrounded exact results have been used in the calculations.