This tag concerns computational problems central to mathematical and scientific computating. The scope includes algorithms, numerical analysis, optimization, and linear algebra, computational topology, computational geometry, symbolic methods, and inverse problems.

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46
votes
4answers
3k views

Is “A New Kind of Science” a new kind of science?

A couple of years ago I was reading "New Kind of Science" (NKS) by S. Wolfram, and it presented lot of interesting ideas for a young Physics undergraduate. Now that I am studying Mathematics however, ...
28
votes
3answers
12k views

What algorithm is used by computers to calculate logarithms?

I would like to know how are logarithms calculated by computers. The GNU C library, for example, uses a call to the fyl2x() assembler instruction, which means that ...
23
votes
1answer
513 views

Computing (on a computer) the first few (non-trivial) zeros of the zeta function of a number field

If $K$ is a number field, whose Galois closure over the rationals has degree 24 or so, and whose discriminant is around $163^4$, then what is a numerically efficient way of computing the first few ...
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 ...
18
votes
4answers
374 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. ...
17
votes
5answers
933 views

What interesting open mathematical problems could be solved if we could perform a “supertask” and what couldn't?

If we had a computer that could perform a countably infinite number of steps of a Turing machine, what currently open problems could we solve? I guess a lot of number theory problems could be solved ...
14
votes
1answer
2k views

Quadratic sieve algorithm

I am stuck with the sieving stage of Quadratic Sieve algorithm. I've read lots of papers to this point but I can't find any guidlines how to choose sieving interval or how sieving is actually done ...
13
votes
2answers
218 views

$e$ popping up in topic I'm unfamiliar with

I programmed up a little algorithm that goes like this: Fix two positive, real numbers, call them $\alpha$ and $\beta$. Generate a new, random, real number, $x \in [0,1]$ Set $\alpha$ = ...
12
votes
1answer
168 views

On $1^2+2^2+\dots+24^2 = 70^2$, and $15^3+16^3+\dots+34^3 = 70^3$

It is quite well-known that, $$1^2+2^2+\dots+24^2 = 70^2$$ Not so well-known is, $$15^3+16^3+\dots+34^3 = 70^3$$ The formula for the sum of $m$ consecutive squares starting with $a^2$ is, ...
12
votes
1answer
806 views

Why are there mathematicians that do not use computers?

I was watching a video on Andrew Wiles and his proof of Fermat's Last Theorem and I quite liked the video, especially the complexity of the proof only to prove a simple concept which can be understood ...
12
votes
1answer
170 views

Evaluation of a slow continued fraction

Puzzle question... I know how to solve it, and will post my solution if needed; but those who wish may participate in the spirit of coming up with elegant solutions rather than trying to teach me how ...
12
votes
1answer
337 views

Krylov-like method for solving systems of polynomials?

To iteratively solve large linear systems, many current state-of-the-art methods work by finding approximate solutions in successively larger (Krylov) subspaces. Are there similar iterative methods ...
11
votes
1answer
392 views

Constructing a finite field

I'm looking for constructive ways to obtain finite fields, for any given size $q=p^n$. For example, I know it suffices to find an irreducible polynomial of degree $n$ over $\mathbb{Z}_p$ (and then ...
11
votes
0answers
122 views

Product of primes mod n

Let $n$ be an odd composite number. I'm trying to compute $$ f(n)=\prod_{n/2<p<n}p\pmod n $$ where $p$ ranges over the primes in the indicated region. Can this be done (significantly) faster ...
10
votes
1answer
791 views

How else can we be nauty?

The graph canonical labelling package nauty is widely regarded as one of the best (if not the best) around. Unfortunately, it's quite a large package, and making a GPU version seems to be a highly ...
10
votes
1answer
916 views

How do I prove the partial denominators formula of the Bauer-Muir transformation of a generalized continued fraction?

Notation: $b_{0}+\underset{n=1}{\overset{\infty }{\mathbb{K}}}\left( a_{n}/b_{n}\right) $ is the Gauss Notation for generalized continued fractions. Description of the Bauer-Muir transformation ...
9
votes
2answers
244 views

Efficient computation of $\sum_{k=1}^n \lfloor \frac{n}{k}\rfloor$

I realize there is probably not a closed form, but is there an efficient way to calculate the following expression? $$\sum_{k=1}^n \left\lfloor \frac{n}{k}\right\rfloor$$ I've noticed $$\sum_{k=1}^n ...
9
votes
2answers
2k views

How to check whether an ideal is a prime (or maximal) ideal?

I have a ring $R$ which is known to be a Dedekind domain, but not necessarily a Euclidian domain, and a nonzero ideal generated by one or two elements in this ring. How can I check if this ideal is a ...
9
votes
2answers
452 views

Computing the “lying over”, “going up”, “going down” ideals.

For any commutative unital ring $R$ and an ideal $\mathfrak{a}$ of $R$, we shall denote $$\begin{align*} \mathrm{Spec}(R)&:=\{\text{prime ideals of }R\},\\ ...
8
votes
9answers
10k views

Fastest Square Root Algorithm

What is the fastest algorithm for finding the square root of a number? I created one that can find the square root of "987654321" to 16 decimal places in just 20 iterations (I'm not ready to release ...
8
votes
4answers
872 views

What is the most efficient way to calculate the sine of a rational number?

I'm happy that we can use some trig identities like $$\sin\left(\frac{\theta}{2}\right) \equiv \pm \sqrt{\frac{1-\cos(\theta)}{2}}$$ and $$\sin(\alpha \pm\beta) \equiv \sin(\alpha) \cos(\beta)\pm ...
8
votes
1answer
92 views

Are the unit partial quotients of $\pi, \log(2), \zeta(3) $ and other constants $all$ governed by $H=0.415\dots$?

Khinchin showed that given the simple continued fraction of a real number, $$r = a_0+\cfrac{1}{a_1+\cfrac{1}{a_2+\cfrac{1} {\ddots}}}$$ then it is almost always true that the partial quotients $a_i$ ...
8
votes
1answer
97 views

How to find this number, which is probably a very big prime or a product of big primes?

Let $\mathcal{N}(n)$ be the next prime greater than $n$. Which is the smallest natural number $n>0\;$ such that: $\mathcal N(2\cdot 3\cdot 5\cdot 7\cdot 11\cdot n)−2\cdot 3\cdot 5\cdot 7\cdot ...
8
votes
0answers
76 views

Generalizing Bellard's “exotic” formula for $\pi$ to $m=11$

Bellard's "exotic" pi formula has the form, $$a\pi+b = \sum_{n=1}^\infty \dfrac{P(n)}{{\displaystyle \binom{mn}{2n}2^{n-1}}}$$ where $a,b,m$ are integers and he uses $m=7$. However, it seems there ...
7
votes
2answers
163 views

How was the $3x+1$ problem checked up to $5 \times 2^{60}$?

The Wikipedia article for the Collatz conjecture states that: The conjecture has been checked by computer for all starting values up to $5 \times 2^{60} \approx 5.764 \times 10^{18}$. It gives ...
7
votes
2answers
2k views

Fast Matlab Code for hypergeometric function $_2F_1$

I am looking for a good numerical algorithm to evaluate the hypergeometric function $_2F_1$ in Matlab (hypergeom in Matlab is very slow). I looked across the ...
7
votes
1answer
89 views

Carmichael numbers of form $m^3+1$ and Ramanujan's $1729$

While researching for a post on tetranacci pseudoprimes I came across a list of Carmichael numbers, $$C_n = 561,\, 1105,\, 1729,\, 2465,\, 2821,\dots$$ Of course, Ramanujan's taxicab number $1729 = ...
7
votes
1answer
498 views

Why is Householder computationally more stable than modified Gram-Schmidt?

I'm having trouble nailing down why using Householder transformations yields a more stable/accurate result than the modified Gram-Schmidt method when computing the QR decomposition of a matrix. Can ...
7
votes
1answer
162 views

Accelerating approximations for arccos

I have recently built a method to accelerate drastically the accuracy of the following approximation of $\arccos(x)$ : $f_n(x)=2^n\sqrt{2-2g^{n-1}(x)}$ where $g(x)=\frac{1}2\sqrt{2+2x}$ and ...
7
votes
1answer
156 views

Fractional part of exp(x)

I have a real number $x$ (for concreteness, say $10^4<x<10^6$) and would like to find $e^x-\lfloor e^x\rfloor$ to reasonable precision (10-20 decimal places). What is the most efficient method? ...
6
votes
5answers
266 views

Computing as many digits as possible of $\sqrt{2}$ with a pen and a paper in 5 minutes

You have to compute as many digits as possible of $\sqrt{2}$ with a pen and a paper (an eraser if you're lucky...) in 5 minutes. What will you do? What is your justification for doing it? The ...
6
votes
3answers
265 views

Mathematical Limitations of Computer Experiments

One problem that has always bothered me is the limitations of computers in studying math. With a chaotic dynamical system, for example, we know mathematically that they possess trajectories that never ...
6
votes
2answers
484 views

Accelerating Convergence of a Sequence

Suppose I had a monotonically increasing sequence $\{d_{n}\}$ which is also bounded above. The $d_{n}$'s satisfy a given recurrence, however computationally they tend very slowly to the limit. What ...
6
votes
2answers
95 views

How to determine whether a point is inside a closed region or not?

Take the following parametric equation of an implicit curve as an example: $$ \left\{\quad \begin{array}{rl} x=& 9 \sin 2 t+5 \sin 3 t \\ y=& 9 \cos 2 t-5 \cos 3 t \\ \end{array} \right. $$ ...
6
votes
1answer
668 views

How to find an expression whose value is 190

Given a set of numbers (in this case): 3, 7, 7, 100, 50 Either: prove it is impossible to form the number k = 190 using ( ) + - * / operators between sub set of the these numbers ex: 1000 = ((3 + ...
6
votes
1answer
2k views

Wolfram Alpha error?

I was seeing some equations in WA, and i got with http://www.wolframalpha.com/input/?i=%28k%2B1%29%5E2%3E%3D4%28k-1%29%5E2 Let's manually solve the equation $$(k+1)^2\ge4(k-1)^2$$ ...
6
votes
1answer
204 views

How to calculate this complementary Bessel function?

I am trying to calculate this complementary Bessel function $$\Psi(a,b,\gamma)=\int_0^\infty\Phi({a\over \sqrt{u}}+b\sqrt{u}){u^{\gamma-1}e^{-u}\over \Gamma(\gamma)}du$$ where $\Phi$ is the standard ...
6
votes
2answers
213 views

What is the average weight of a minimal spanning tree of $n$ randomly selected points in the unit cube?

Suppose we pick $n$ random points in the unit cube in $\mathbb{R}_3$, $p_1=\left(x_1,y_1,z_1\right),$ $p_2=\left(x_2,y_2,z_2\right),$ etc. (So, $x_i,y_i,z_i$ are $3n$ uniformly distributed random ...
5
votes
1answer
1k views

A search for integers which can be written as a sum of two squares in multiple ways

As part of a number theory hobby project, I'm looking for a computational way to enumerate all integers $n$ which can be written as a sum of two integer squares in three or more ways. The range of ...
5
votes
1answer
161 views

What's the best way to detect an algebraic number?

Suppose you calculate the first few (dozen, hundred) digits of a number which you believe to be a rational number. You can calculate the continued fraction for the number and truncate after a large ...
5
votes
3answers
485 views

FFT with powers of 3

Classic Fast Fourier Transfrom (FFT) works fine, when $n$ is power of 2. How to generalize FFT procedure when $n$ is power of 3? Is it possible to easily modify the algorithm and preserve its ...
5
votes
3answers
1k views

What free software can I use to solve a system of linear equations containing an unknown?

Question: What free software can I use to solve a system of linear equations $M\mathbf{x}=\mathbf{y}$ where the entries of $\mathbf{y}$ vary with an unknown quantity $n$? Presumably I could do ...
5
votes
1answer
2k views

How does Knuth's algorithm for calculating logarithm work?

I had a look at Knuth's The Art of Computer Programming, book 1. In chapter 1, section 1.2.2, exercise 25, he presents the following algorithm for calculating logarithm: given $x\in[1,2)$, do the ...
5
votes
2answers
303 views

Abuse of big-O notation? (version 2 - simplified and revised)

Given exam question: Algorithms A & B have complexity functions $f(n)=2 log(n^3)+3n$ and $g(n)=1+0.1n^2$ respectively. By classifying each $f$ and $g$ as $\mathcal{O}(F)$ for a suitable ...
5
votes
3answers
574 views

Calculate $\pi$ in an arbitrary base, to arbitrary precision

I need to calculate $\pi$ -- in base: 4, 12, 32, and 128 -- to an arbitrary number of digits. (It's for an artist friend). I remember Taylor series and I've found miscellaneous "BBP" formulas, but so ...
5
votes
1answer
174 views

Efficient free alternative to *Mathematica*

I am searching for a free alternative to Mathematica. By efficient, I mean that it should have every (or at least almost every) function that you can find in Mathematica, including for example Number ...
5
votes
0answers
80 views

A summation involving the ceiling function

I'm trying to find a better method of calculating the sum $$\sum_{k=1}^N\lceil ak\rceil^2$$ where $a$ is an irrational number. So far, my only idea is to somehow use a best rational approximation. ...
5
votes
0answers
178 views

A property of the subgroups lattices

Let $G$ be a finite group. Consider all the subgroups $H$ such that its subgroups lattice $\mathcal{L}(H)$ is distributive (i.e. the group $H$ is cyclic, by Ore's theorem), and among them, let $\{ ...
5
votes
1answer
487 views

Cylinder-ray intersections equation

I found an article involving infinite cylinder-ray intersections, and I don't know how they develop this equation: $$(q - p_a - (v_a, q - p_a)v_a)^2 - r^2 = 0$$ In the end of the first page I quote: ...
4
votes
4answers
395 views

Computing partition numbers

Today a friend and myself came up with the question of computing partitions of numbers, i.e.: given a number $n$, what is the number $p(n)$ of was of different ways writing $n$ as a sum of non-zero ...