I am experimenting with a method which will converge hopefully to a real number, for which I suspect, that it is the root of a polynomial equation. How does Wolfram Alpha find its guess?

How does WA find the polynomial $$34 x^5 - 25 x^4 + 220 x^3 - 3 x^2 - 98 x - 72$$ which has a given root $x$ near $$x = 0.896955≈0.89695468574315102364$$?

Is it possible to do this also in Sagemath?

  • $\begingroup$ @PeterPhipps: Yes that is the question. I have updated the post. $\endgroup$ Jun 3 at 10:08
  • $\begingroup$ Using signed remainder sequences (Sturm's theorem) it's possible to count the number of roots a given polynomial (say $34x^5-25x^4+220x^3-3x^2-98x-72$ ) has in a given interval. (say $[0.896954, 0.896956]$) . Perhaps there's some way to apply it in reverse to guess a polynomial that has roots in a given interval. $\endgroup$ Jun 3 at 10:21
  • $\begingroup$ I would reverse the order. The input is the root, the output is the polynomial. $\endgroup$ Jun 3 at 10:37
  • $\begingroup$ This might be a start: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Integer_relation_algorithm $\endgroup$ Jun 3 at 10:43
  • 3
    $\begingroup$ @HansLundmark: I had read but forgotten about the LLL algorithm which is implemented I think in sagemath. Thanks for the hint! $\endgroup$ Jun 3 at 10:54

1 Answer 1


I will answer my question for Sagemath, which is based on what @HansLundmark wrote.

It uses the PSLQ algorithm:

def find_approximate_poly_given_root(z,max_degree=10,tol=10**-15,dps=50):
    # https://mpmath.org/doc/1.1.0/identification.html#algebraic-identification
    # https://math.stackexchange.com/questions/4464671/how-does-wolfram-alpha-find-polynomial-equation-of-given-roots
    from mpmath import mp, findpoly
    mp.dps = dps
    l = findpoly(z,n=max_degree,tol=tol)
    if l is None:
        return None
    d = len(l)
    f = sum([x**(d-i-1)*l[i] for i in range(d)])
    return f

f = find_approximate_poly_given_root(0.896954685743151,max_degree=10,tol=10**-15,dps=15)

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