For questions that involve concrete approximations, such as finding an approximate value of a number with some precision. For questions that belong to the mathematical area of Approximation Theory, use (approximation-theory).

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23
votes
7answers
12k views

Simple numerical methods for calculating the digits of $\pi$

Are there any simple methods for calculating the digits of $\pi$? Computers are able to calculate billions of digits, so there must be an algorithm for computing them. Is there a simple algorithm that ...
70
votes
9answers
4k views

Find the average of $\sin^{100} (x)$ in 5 minutes?

I read this quote attributed to VI Arnold. "Who can't calculate the average value of the one hundredth power of the sine function within five minutes, doesn't understand mathematics - even if he ...
13
votes
2answers
1k views

Approximation to the Lambert W function

If: $$x = y + \log(y) -a$$ Then the solution for $y$ using the Lambert W function is: $$y(x) = W(e^{a+x})$$ In a paper I'm reading, I saw an approximation to this solution, due to "Borsch and ...
56
votes
4answers
5k views

Motivation for Ramanujan's mysterious $\pi$ formula

The following formula for $\pi$ was discovered by Ramanujan: $$\frac1{\pi} = \frac{2\sqrt{2}}{9801} \sum_{k=0}^\infty \frac{(4k)!(1103+26390k)}{(k!)^4 396^{4k}}\!$$ Does anyone know how it works, or ...
10
votes
1answer
815 views

Tensor products of functions generate dense subspace?

Let $X$ and $Y$ be two spaces in certain category, $F(\cdot)$ a functor associating each space with a function space (with certain topology). Assume that for any $f\in F(X)$ and $g\in F(Y)$, $f\otimes ...
97
votes
3answers
6k views

A 1,400 years old approximation to the sine function by Mahabhaskariya of Bhaskara I

The approximation $$\sin(x) \simeq \frac{16 (\pi -x) x}{5 \pi ^2-4 (\pi -x) x}\qquad (0\leq x\leq\pi)$$ was proposed by Mahabhaskariya of Bhaskara I, a seventh-century Indian mathematician. I ...
76
votes
3answers
3k views

Is there an integral that proves $\pi > 333/106$?

The following integral, $$ \int_0^1 \frac{x^4(1-x)^4}{x^2 + 1} \mathrm{d}x = \frac{22}{7} - \pi $$ is clearly positive, which proves that $\pi < 22/7$. Is there a similar integral which proves ...
29
votes
4answers
923 views

Geometric explanation of $\sqrt 2 + \sqrt 3 \approx \pi$

Just curious, is there a geometry picture explanation to show that $\sqrt 2 + \sqrt 3 $ is close to $ \pi $?
17
votes
5answers
4k views

Approximation of $e^{-x}$

Is there a method to mentally evaluate $e^{-x}$ for $x>0$? Just to have an idea when computing probabilities or anything that is an exponential function of some parameters.
8
votes
6answers
356 views

Approximating $\pi$ with least digits

Do you a digit efficient way to approximate $\pi$? I mean representing many digits of $\pi$ using only a few numeric digits and some sort of equation. Maybe mathematical operations also count as ...
5
votes
3answers
479 views

$\lim_{n\to\infty} f(2^n)$ for some very slowly increasing function $f(n)$

I should be able to answer this myself, but feel insecure anyway. I want to know, whether a function f(n) is bounded if n goes to infinity (and if it's bounded, the limit). Heuristically it appears ...
4
votes
4answers
441 views

Lambert function approximation $W_0$ branch

I am looking for a simple, inexpensive and very accurate approximation of the Lambert function ($W_0$ branch) ($-1/e < x < 0$).
4
votes
4answers
3k views

Why is $22/7$ a better approximation for $\pi$ than $3.14$?

This seems counterintuitive, but $22/7$ is closer to $\pi$ than $3.14=314/100$ which has a significantly greater denominator. Why is $22/7$ a better approximation for $\pi$ than $3.14$? This has ...
3
votes
0answers
400 views

An Expression for $\log\zeta(ns)$ derived from the Limit of the truncated Prime $\zeta$ Function

I think, here, I found $$ P_\color{red}x(\color{blue}s)=\sum_{p<\color{red}x} \frac{1}{p^{\color{blue}s}} =\sum_{\color{green}n=1}^{\infty}\frac{ \mu (\color{green}n)}{\color{green}n} ...
62
votes
12answers
9k views

Can the golden ratio accurately be expressed in terms of e and $\pi$

I was playing around with numbers when I noticed that $\sqrt e$ was very somewhat close to $\phi$ And so, I took it upon myself to try to find a way to express the golden ratio in terms of the ...
23
votes
4answers
1k views

Prove that $2^{2^{\sqrt3}}>10$

With a computer or calculator, it is easy to show that $$ 2^{2^\sqrt{3}} = 10.000478 \ldots > 10. $$ How can we prove that $2^{2^{\sqrt3}}>10$ without a calculator?
21
votes
9answers
5k views

What is the purpose of Stirling's approximation to a factorial?

Stirling approximation to a factorial is $$ n! \sim \sqrt{2 \pi n} \left(\frac{n}{e}\right)^n. $$ I wonder what benefit can be got from it? From computational perspective (I admit I don't ...
20
votes
8answers
4k views

Rapid approximation of $\tanh(x)$

This is kind of a signal processing/programming/mathematics crossover question. At the moment it seems more math-related to me, but if the moderators feel it belongs elsewhere please feel free to ...
17
votes
3answers
1k views

Sine Approximation of Bhaskara

An Indian mathematician, Bhaskara I, gave the following amazing approximation of the sine (I checked the graph and some values, and the approximation is truly impressive.) $$\sin x \approx ...
9
votes
2answers
906 views

Minimum of the Gamma Function $\Gamma (x)$ for $x>0$. How to find $x_{\min}$?

The $\Gamma (x)$ function has just one minimum for $x>0$ . This result uses some properties of the gamma function: $\Gamma ^{\prime \prime }(x)>0$ and $\Gamma (x)>0$ for all $x>0$ $\Gamma (1)=\Gamma ...
2
votes
4answers
1k views

Approximating $\pi$ using Monte Carlo integration

I need to estimate $\pi$ using the following integration: $$\int_{0}^{1} \!\sqrt{1-x^2} \ dx$$ using monte carlo Any help would be greatly appreciated, please note that I'm a student trying to ...
3
votes
1answer
149 views

$n \approxeq k + 2^{2^k}(k+1)$. How can one get the value of $k(n)$ from this equation?

I am trying to find approximation for this sum. Asymptotic approximation of sum $\sum_{k=0}^{n}\frac{{n\choose k}}{2^{2^k}}$ Doing following way. Let $a_k(n) = \frac{n\choose k}{2^{2^k}}$. I tried to ...
3
votes
3answers
9k views

Relation between Simpson's Rule, Trapezoid Rule and Midpoint Rule

I am studying numerical approximation and verifying $S_{2n} = \frac{1}{3}\left(T_n +2 M_n\right)$. ($S_n$ refers to Simpson's Rule approximation, $T_n$ refers to Trapezoid Rule approximation and $M_n$ ...
0
votes
1answer
131 views

Can we prove the Riemann-Lebesgue lemma by using the Weierstrass approximation theorem?

I'd like to prove the following version of the Riemann-Lebesgue lemma: Let $f: [0,1] \to \mathbb R$ be continuous. Then $$\int_0^1 f(x)\sin(nx) \, dx \xrightarrow{n \to \infty} 0$$ It's quite ...
23
votes
5answers
4k views

How do you calculate the decimal expansion of an irrational number?

Just curious, how do you calculate an irrational number? Take $\pi$ for example. Computers have calculated $\pi$ to the millionth digit and beyond. What formula/method do they use to figure this out? ...
8
votes
2answers
9k views

Explanation and Proof of the fourth order Runge-Kutta method

Runge-Kutte 4th order method is a numerical technique used to solve ordinary differential equation of the form $dy/dx=f(x,y), y(0)=y_0$ It gives $y_{i+1}$ in the form $y_{i+1} = ...
13
votes
2answers
695 views

Ramanujan's approximation for $\pi$

In 1910, Srinivasa Ramanujan found several rapidly converging infinite series of $\pi$, such as $$ \frac{1}{\pi} = \frac{2\sqrt{2}}{9801} \sum^\infty_{k=0} \frac{(4k)!(1103+26390k)}{(k!)^4 396^{4k}}. ...
4
votes
1answer
1k views

Method for estimating the $n^{th}$ derivative?

When using numerical analysis, I often find that I am required to estimate a derivative (e.g. when using Newton Iteration for finding roots). To estimate the first derivative of a function $f(x)$ at ...
1
vote
6answers
3k views

How to calculate square root or cube root? [duplicate]

I was reading Richard Feynman biography when I read that one time he was able to calculate the cube root of large number in his brain by just using simple facts of everyday life. So my question is ...
15
votes
2answers
5k views

Approximating the logarithm of the binomial coefficient

We know that by using Stirling approximation: $\log n! \approx n \log n$ So how to approximate $\log {m \choose n}$?
12
votes
1answer
254 views

Showing that $\int_0^\infty x^{-x} \mathrm{d}x \leq 2$.

This integral is very closely related to the sophmores dream that states $$ \int_0^1 x^{-x}\mathrm{d}x = \sum_{n=1}^\infty n^{-n} = 1.27\ldots $$ For example here ...
9
votes
3answers
3k views

Approximating the error function erf by analytical functions

The Error function $\mathrm{erf}(x)=\frac{2}{\sqrt{\pi}}\int_0^x e^{-t^2}\,dt$ shows up in many contexts, but can't be represented using elementary functions. I compared it with another function ...
5
votes
2answers
3k views

How can I calculate non-integer exponents?

I can calculate the result of $x^y$ provided that $y \in\mathbb{N}, x \neq 0$ using a simple recursive function: $$ f(x,y) = \begin {cases} 1 & y = 0 \\ (x)f(x, y-1) & y > 0 \end ...
4
votes
1answer
499 views

Differentiability of Moreau-Yosida approximation.

I want to show that if $X$ is a reflexive Banach space with norm of class $\mathcal{C}^1$ and $f\colon X\to\mathbb{R}\cup \{+\infty\}$ is convex and lower semicontinuous, then $f_{\lambda}$ is ...
4
votes
1answer
442 views

Approximating Lambert W for input below 0

As a small part of a much bigger project, I need to be able to approximate the numerical output of the Lambert W function. I have found decent approximations (good up to at least 4 decimal places), ...
3
votes
1answer
106 views

Error formula for linearization

Can anyone shed some light on this formula? I can't find any information on it. It has three corollaries that I also need to understand:
2
votes
0answers
223 views

Real approximation to the maximum using Laplace's method integral

The Laplace's Method states that under some conditions, it holds that: $ \sqrt{\frac{2\pi}{M(-g''(x_0))}} h(x_0) e^{M g(x_0)} \approx \int_a^b\! h(x) e^{M g(x)}\, dx \text { as } M\to\infty$ Where ...
2
votes
1answer
215 views

A counter example of best approximation

Construct a point $f\in C[0,1]$ and a closed subspace $V\subset C[0,1]$ such that $f$ does not have a best approximation in $V$. Definition: $C[0,1]$ is the set of countinous function with the norm ...
0
votes
2answers
486 views

How to show that a measurable function on $R^d$ can be approximated by step functions?

In Stein's Book: Real Analysis, Theorem 4.3 says that any measurable function $f$ on $R^d$ can be approximated by step functions. But the proof provided there only show that when $f=\chi_E$, with ...
7
votes
3answers
7k views

How to justify small angle approximation for cosine

Everyone knows the picture that explains instantly the small angle approximation to the sine function (as defined by the parametrisation of the unit circle): "what's the length of that arc?" "See how ...
4
votes
4answers
156 views

$\sin x$ approximates $x$ for small angles

In physics, particularly in waves, we make use of the fact that for small angles (less than $\pi/12$-ish), the sine function value of an angle is pretty close to the value of the angle itself (in ...
3
votes
2answers
526 views

approximating a maximum function by a differentiable function

Is it possible to approximate the max{x,y} by a differentiable function? f(x,y)=max{x,y} x,y>0
2
votes
2answers
78 views

$C^\infty$ approximations of $f(r) = |r|^{m-1}r$

Consider $f(r) = |r|^{m-1}r$ where $m \geq 1$. Is it possible to find $C^\infty$ functions $f_n$, such that $f_n \to f$ uniformly on compact subsets of $\mathbb{R}$, $f_n' \to f'$ uniformly on ...
2
votes
1answer
122 views

Mysterious subleading corrections to sums with internal dependence on limit

Is there a standard method for finding expansions in $N$ of sums like $$S(N)=\sum_{n=0}^N \sqrt{N^2-n^2}$$ beyond the first term? It is easy to compute here that $$S(N)=N^2 \int_0 ^1 \sqrt{1-x^2} ...
2
votes
3answers
2k views

Smooth approximation of absolute value inequalities

Is there an analytic approximation to the inequality: $$\sum_{i=1}^{n} |x_i| \leq \delta ? $$ I would like to replace the above inequality with a smooth inequality that is "valid" in the sense that ...
1
vote
1answer
38 views

Numerical Approximation of Differential Equations with Midpoint Method

I want to proof that the local truncation error of the Midpoint Method is $d_{k+1}=O\left(h^{3}\right)$ Approach The local truncation error is defined as: ...
1
vote
2answers
236 views

How come $\pi$ is usually approximated as 3.14 or 22/7?

I've heard that $\pi$ is usually approximated as 3.14, but it can also be approximated as 22/7, which is equal to 3.142857142857142857.... Guess what? $\pi$ can also be approximated as 355/113, ...
1
vote
1answer
45 views

Poisson approximation of $X$ by $Poisson(E[X])$

I've tried to find something, but couldn't find anything about the following question. Is it possible to approximate any random variable $X$ with $E[X]=o(1)$ by a Poisson random variable ...
1
vote
1answer
177 views

How to make recursive computation of $I_n=\int_0^1 \frac{x^n}{x+\alpha}\,dx$ stable?

This is homework, so please only hints. We see that the recurrence $$I_n=\frac{1}{n}-\alpha I_{n-1}$$ can be used to compute the value of the integral $I_n=\int_0^1 \frac{x^n}{x+\alpha}\,dx$ ...
1
vote
2answers
117 views

How to approximate this series?

How to approximate this series, non-numerically? $ S_n = \sum_{n=1}^{50} \sqrt{n}$