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From Al Chou <>
Subject Re: [math] Some changes to Polynomial
Date Wed, 31 Mar 2004 06:14:46 GMT
--- Phil Steitz <> wrote:
> 0. To help debug the SplineInterpolater (PR #28019 et al), I need to 
> expose the coefficients in o.a.c.m.analysis.Polynomial as a read-only 
> property (returning an array copy). Any objections to adding this?

+1 if you do it by adding a package-level-accessible (i.e., no access modifier
keyword; the JUnit test would be able to access it by being in the same
package) getter method -- which sounds like what you're proposing.

> While reviewing the code, I also noticed that the current impl uses 
> "naive" evaluation (using Math.pow, etc.).  I would like to change this to 
> use Horner's Method.  Here is what I have ready to commit:
> 1. Add protected static double evaluate(double[] coefficients, double 
> argument) implementing Horner to get the function value; and change 
> value(double) to just call this.
> 2. Add protected static double[] differentiate(double[] coefficients) to 
> return the coefficients of the derivative of the polynomial with 
> coefficients equal to the actual parameter.  Then change 
> firstDerivative(x) to just return
> evaluate(differentiate(coefficients), x).  Similar for secondDerivative.
> I could adapt Horner for the derivatives, but that seems messy to me and 
> the slight memory cost to create the temp arrays seems worth it.
> 3. I would also like to add
> public PolynomialFunction derivative() {
>    return new PolynomialFunction(differentiate(coefficients));
> }
> Any objections to this?

+1, these sound reasonable.

> Interestingly, while Horner's method should give better numerics, it 
> actually fails to get within 1E-15 for one of the quintic test cases, 
> performing worse than the "naive" impl. The error is in the 16th 
> significant digit, which is not surprising.  I would like to change the 
> tolerance to 1E-12 (current tests actually succeed at 1E-14).
> Phil

I wonder why that is?  Does Math.pow() use higher-than-double precision and
then cast down to double?  I think we should consider carefully what is implied
by the fact that Horner's method has worse precision.  Also, I would in
principle like to leave the tolerance as tight as possible, 1E-14 in this case.


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