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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86
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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 ...
71
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 ...
66
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 ...
58
votes
12answers
8k 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 ...
55
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 ...
30
votes
7answers
1k views

Pi Estimation using Integers

I ran across this problem in a high school math competition: "You must use the integers $1$ to $9$ and only addition, subtraction, multiplication, division, and exponentiation to approximate the ...
30
votes
1answer
721 views

A series problem by Knuth

I came across the following problem, known as Knuth's Series which originally was an American Mathematical Monthly problem. Prove that $$\sum_{n=1}^\infty ...
28
votes
4answers
840 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 $?
27
votes
4answers
3k views

How much gas does a car use to carry its own gas?

I have always been curious about this one. Since the gas has some weight, the car will have to burn some extra gas to carry it's own fuel around. How can I calculate how much that extra gas is? ...
26
votes
3answers
1k views

The right “weigh” to do integrals

Back in the day, before approximation methods like splines became vogue in my line of work, one way of computing the area under an empirically drawn curve was to painstakingly sketch it on a piece of ...
24
votes
0answers
584 views

On Shanks' quartic approximation $\pi \approx \frac{6}{\sqrt{3502}}\ln(2u)$

In Mathworld's "Pi Approximations", (line 58), Weisstein mentions one by the mathematician Daniel Shanks that differs by a mere $10^{-82}$, $$\pi \approx ...
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? ...
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?
23
votes
1answer
444 views

Approximate value of a slowly-converging sum of $\sum|\sin n|^n/n$

In this question on Math.SE there appears this sum: $$ S = \sum_{n\geq1}s_n, \qquad s_n = \frac{|\sin n|^n}{n}, $$ which converges very slowly. What methods would you suggest for evaluating it ...
22
votes
7answers
11k 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 ...
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 ...
19
votes
8answers
3k 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 ...
19
votes
2answers
577 views

Maximum of Polynomials in the Unit Circle

Let $z_{1},z_{2},\ldots,z_{n}$ be i.i.d random points in the unit circle ($|z_i|=1$) with uniform distribution of their angles. Consider the random polynomial $P(z)$ given by $$ ...
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.
17
votes
3answers
366 views

Approximating $1/z$ by polynomials

Let $C=\{\mathrm e^{\mathrm it}, 0\le t\le 3\pi/2\}$ and $f(z)=1/z$. By Runge's theorem, there is a sequence of polynomials $p_n(z)$ such that $$\lim_n p_n(z)=f(z)$$ uniformly on $C$. Does anyone ...
16
votes
5answers
1k views

How best to explain the $\sqrt{2\pi n}$ term in Stirling's?

I recently showed my Algorithms class how to bound $\ln n! = \sum \ln n$ by integrals, thereby obtaining the simple factorial approximation $$ e \left(\frac{n}{e}\right)^{n} \leq n! \leq ...
16
votes
3answers
372 views

Approximating $100!$

I participated in an Estimathon (a speed contest of Fermi problems) not long ago. It works as follows. Contestants are given questions and they must give a closed range $[a,b]$ which should contain ...
16
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 ...
15
votes
3answers
2k views

How to convert $\pi$ to base 16?

According to this Wikipedia article $\pi$ is approximately 3.243F in base 16 (i.e. hexadecimal). Can someone explain this? (Note: I understand how to convert an integer to base 16) Thanks
15
votes
1answer
367 views

A cute approximation for $\cot(2\pi x)$(!?)

Numerical calculations and some theory leads to the suggestion that $$\cot(2\pi x) \rightarrow\frac{1}{2\pi}\sum_r \frac{1}{x-r}$$ where $r$ ranges over all the roots of $B_{2n+1}$ (Bernoulli ...
14
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 $\log {m \choose n}$?
14
votes
2answers
168 views

A Mathematical Coincidence, or more?

According to the paper "Ten Problems in Experimental Mathematics", $$\int_0^\infty \cos(2x)\prod_{n=1}^\infty \cos\left(\frac{x}{n}\right)dx \quad = \quad \frac{\pi}{8}\color{blue}{-7.407 \times ...
14
votes
3answers
296 views

How could I improve this approximation?

In a computer application, I need to solve trillions of times an equation which can be reduced to $$f(x)=\sin(x)-a x=0$$ Newton methods (quadratic and higher orders) are used for the solution. ...
13
votes
2answers
540 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}}. ...
12
votes
9answers
6k views

How to calculate $e^x$ with a standard calculator

Is there a simple method for calculating the $e^x$ ($x\in\mathbb{R}$) with a basic add/subtract/multiply/divide calculator that converges in reasonable time, preferably without having to memorize ...
12
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 ...
12
votes
2answers
3k views

Euler's Approximation of pi.

I recently stumbled across the formula: $$\pi=20\arctan\frac{1}{7}+8\arctan\frac{3}{79}$$ developed by Euler, for approximating pi. I evaluated it to several thousand decimal places and up to that ...
12
votes
1answer
248 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 ...
12
votes
1answer
230 views

Why is integer approximation of a function interesting?

I have recently learnt the following result: Let $g \in \mathbb{R}[x]$ be a polynomial with $g(0) = 0$. Then, for any $\varepsilon > 0$, the set of positive integers $n$, such that $g(n)$ is ...
11
votes
5answers
602 views

Approximation theorems

The Weierstrass' approximation theorem for continuous functions on a compact space by using polynomials is well-known. As far as I know, there are some variants of this theorem, e.g. Stone-Weierstrass ...
11
votes
4answers
297 views

Why is this number so close to $1$?

The only positive solution of the equation $\sin (\tan x) = x$ is at a number $a = 0.999906...$. Is it a coincidence that the number $a$ is so close to $1$, or is there a conceptual explanation? It ...
11
votes
1answer
277 views

Why is $10\frac{\exp(\pi)-\log 3}{\log 2}$ almost an integer?

I read that $$10\frac{\exp(\pi)-\log 3}{\log 2} =318.000000033252\dots \approx 318$$ Is this simply a coincidence or can this somehow be explained?
11
votes
1answer
164 views

Is $e = \sum_n 1/n!$ the most efficient sequence of denominators for rational series for $e$?

The classical series $e = \lim_{n \to \infty} X_n$ where $X_n = \sum_{k=0}^n 1/k!$ is incredibly efficient. But is it known to be the most efficient series in terms of denominators for using fractions ...
11
votes
2answers
823 views

Application de Stone-Weierstrass

Bonjour, J'ai rencontré le problème suivant dans le livre "Real and Functional Analysis" de Lang, au chapitre 3. J'explique d'abord le contexte, puis j'en viendrai à la question précise. Il faut ...
11
votes
1answer
411 views

Approximation of Semicontinuous Functions

Assume that $k \in \mathbb{N}$ and $f : \mathbb{R}^d \rightarrow [0,\infty)$ is lower semicontinuous, i.e. $f(x) \leq \liminf_{y \rightarrow x} f(y)$ for all $x \in \mathbb{R}^d$. Does there exist a ...
10
votes
4answers
3k views

Find bound for sum of square roots

Let $a_1,...,a_n$ be real numbers, such that $a_1+...+a_n=A$. What can we say about $\sqrt{a_1}+...+\sqrt{a_n}$? I would like to bound from above thus sum in terms of $A$.
10
votes
2answers
292 views

$e^{\pi\sqrt N}$ is very close to an integer for some smallish $N$s. What about $\pi^{e\sqrt N}$?

Heegner numbers (1, 2, 3, 7, 11, 19, 43, 67, 163 - let's use symbol $H_n$) are know for peculiar property that $e^{\pi\sqrt{H_n}}$ are almost integers: $$e^{\pi \sqrt{19}} \approx 96^3+744-0.22$$ ...
10
votes
4answers
285 views

Which expansion of $e$ is more accurate?

We have two forms of $e^x$ $$e^x=1+x+\frac{x^2}{2!}+\frac{x^3}{3!}+....$$ and $$e^x=\frac{1}{\displaystyle 1-x+\frac{x^2}{2!}-\frac{x^3}{3!}+....}$$ The second form comes from ...
10
votes
2answers
467 views

How prove this sequence $a_{n}=\sqrt{n}+\frac{1}{2}-\frac{1}{8\sqrt{n}}+o\left(\frac{1}{\sqrt{n}}\right)?$

let sequence $\{a_{n}\}$ such $$a_{1}=1,a_{n+1}=1+\dfrac{n}{a_{n}}$$ show that: $$a_{n}=\sqrt{n}+\dfrac{1}{2}-\dfrac{1}{8\sqrt{n}}+o\left(\dfrac{1}{\sqrt{n}}\right)?$$ This result is china student ...
10
votes
5answers
395 views

Why is $e^\pi - \pi$ so close to $20$?

$e^\pi-\pi\approx 19.99909998$ Why is this so close to $20$?
10
votes
6answers
237 views

When the approximation $\pi\simeq 3.14$ is NOT sufficent

It's common at schools to use $3.14$ as an appropriate approximation of $\pi$. However, here it's stated that for some purposes, $\pi$ should be approximated to $32$ decimal places. I need an example ...
10
votes
2answers
382 views

Summation of divergent series of Euler: $0!-1!+2!-3!+\cdots$

Consider the series $$\sum\limits_{k=0}^\infty (-1)^kk!x^k\in\mathbb{R}[[x]]$$ Let $s_n(x)$ be partial sum. And let $\omega_{k,n}=(k!^2(n-k)!)^{-1}$. My question is: Prove that ...
10
votes
1answer
251 views

How was this approximation of $\pi$ involving $\sqrt{5}$ arrived at?

The Wikipedia article for Approximations of $\pi$ contains this little gem: $$ \pi \approx \frac{63}{25}\times\frac{17 + 15\sqrt{5}}{7 + 15\sqrt{5}} $$ which is clearly in $\mathbb{Q[\sqrt{5}]}$. ...
10
votes
1answer
114 views

Hardy's approximation for the cosine

I was reading about the Hardy's approximation for the cosine function (here and also in Mathworld): for 0<x<1 What I would like to know is, how was this approximation derived? What other uses ...
10
votes
2answers
299 views

Difference between “≈”, “≃”, and “≅”

In mathematical notation, what are the usage differences between the various approximately-equal signs "≈", "≃", and "≅"? The Unicode standard lists all of them inside the Mathematical Operators ...