This package contains simple routines for finding roots of continuous
scalar functions of a single real variable. The basic interface is
through the function `fzero`

which dispatches to an appropriate
algorithm based on its argument(s):

`fzero(f, a::Real, b::Real)`

and`fzero(f, bracket::Vector)`

call the`find_zero`

algorithm to find a root within the bracket`[a,b]`

. When a bracket is used with`Float64`

arguments, the algorithm is guaranteed to converge to a value`x`

with either`f(x) == 0`

or at least one of`f(prevfloat(x))*f(x) < 0`

or`f(x)*f(nextfloat(x)) < 0`

. (The function need not be continuous to apply the algorithm, as the last condition can still hold.)`fzero(f, x0::Real; order::Int=0)`

calls a derivative-free method. The default method is a bit plodding but more robust to the quality of the initial guess than some others. For faster convergence and fewer function calls, an order can be specified. Possible values are 1, 2, 5, 8, and 16. The order 2 Steffensen method can be the fastest, but is in need of a good initial guess. The order 8 method is more robust and often as fast. The higher-order methods may be faster when using`Big`

values.`fzero(f, x0::Real, bracket::Vector)`

calls a derivative-free algorithm with initial guess`x0`

with steps constrained to remain in the specified bracket.`fzeros(f, a::Real, b::Real; no_pts::Int=200)`

will split the interval`[a,b]`

into many subintervals and search for zeros in each using a bracketing method if possible. This naive algorithm may miss double zeros that lie within the same subinterval and zeros where there is no crossing of the x-axis.

For historical purposes, there are implementations of Newton's method
(`newton`

), Halley's method (`halley`

), and the secant method
(`secant_method`

). For the first two, if derivatives are not
specified, they will be computed using the `ForwardDiff`

package.

```
f(x) = exp(x) - x^4
## bracketing
fzero(f, 8, 9) # 8.613169456441398
fzero(f, -10, 0) # -0.8155534188089606
fzeros(f, -10, 10) # -0.815553, 1.42961 and 8.61317
## use a derivative free method
fzero(f, 3) # 1.4296118247255558
## use a different order
fzero(sin, 3, order=16) # 3.141592653589793
## BigFloat values yield more precision
fzero(sin, BigFloat(3.0)) # 3.1415926535897932384...with 256 bits of precision
```

The `fzero`

function can be used with callable objects:

```
using SymEngine; @vars x
fzero(x^5 - x - 1, 1.0)
```

Or,

```
using Polynomials; x = variable(Int)
fzero(x^5 - x - 1, 1.0)
```

The well-known methods can be used with or without supplied
derivatives. If not specified, the `ForwardDiff`

package is used for
automatic differentiation.

```
f(x) = exp(x) - x^4
fp(x) = exp(x) - 4x^3
fpp(x) = exp(x) - 12x^2
newton(f, fp, 8) # 8.613169456441398
newton(f, 8)
halley(f, fp, fpp, 8)
halley(f, 8)
secant_method(f, 8, 8.5)
```

The automatic derivatives allow for easy solutions to finding critical points of a function.

```
## mean
as = rand(5)
function M(x)
sum([(x-a)^2 for a in as])
end
fzero(D(M), .5) - mean(as) # 0.0
## median
function m(x)
sum([abs(x-a) for a in as])
end
fzero(D(m), 0, 1) - median(as) # 0.0
```

Some additional documentation can be read here.

Special methods for finding roots of polynomials have been moved to
the `PolynomialZeros`

package and its `poly_roots(f, domain)`

function.

04/11/2013

5 days ago

192 commits