# Real Roots of Univariate Polynomials with Real Coefficients

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1 Real Roots of Univariate Polynomials with Real Coefficients mostly written by Christina Hewitt March 22, Introduction Polynomial equations are used throughout mathematics. When solving polynomials many questions arise such as: Are there any real roots? If so, how many? Where are they located? Are these roots positive or negative? Depending on the problem being solved sometimes a rough estimate for the interval where a root is located is enough. There are many methods that can be used to answer these questions. We will focus on Descartes Rule of Signs, the Budan-Fourier theorem and Sturm s theorem. Descartes Rule of Signs traditionally is used to determine the possible number of positive real roots of a polynomial. This method can be modified to also find the possible negative roots for a polynomial. The Budan-Fourier theorem takes advantage of the derivatives of a polynomial to determine the number of possible number of roots. While Sturm s theorem uses a blend of derivatives and the Euclidean Algorithm to determine the exact number of roots. In some cases, an interval where a root of the polynomial exists is not enough. Two methods, Horner and Newton s methods, to numerically approximate roots up to a given precision are also discussed. We will also give a real world application that uses Sturm s theorem to solve a problem. 1.1 Descartes s Rule of Signs There are multiple ways to determine the number of roots of a polynomial. Descartes s Rule of Signs helps determine the number of positive or negative roots of a polynomial with real coefficients. Theorem 1.1. (Descartes s Rule of Signs) Let f(x) = a n x n + a n 1 x n a 1 x + a 0 be a polynomial with real coefficients, where a i R, i = 0,..., n, and a n and a 0 are nonzero. Let v be the number of changes of signs in the sequence (a 0,..., a n ) of its coefficients and let p be the number of its real positive roots, counted with their orders of multiplicity, then there exists some nonnegative integer m such that p = v 2m (c.f. [Mig92]). Proof: Let the number of positive roots of the equation f(x) = a n x n + a n 1 x n a 1 x + a 0 be denoted by p and let v denote the number of sign variations of the coefficients. Since a n is non zero, we can divide all the above coefficients by this number. This will not change the number of sign variations nor will it change the number of positive roots but it will allow us to assume that the leading coefficient of our polynomial is 1. We therefore can assume that f(x) = x n + a n 1 x n a 0, 1

2 where for some (possibly different) a i. Let r 1,..., r p be the positive roots (each listed as many times as its multiplicity). We then have p f(x) = g(x) (x r i ) where g(x) = x m + b m 1 x m b 0 is a polynomial with no positive roots. We will first show that p and v are both even or both odd. To see this first note that b 0 must be positive. If b 0 where negative, then g(0) = b 0 would be negative while for x sufficiently large g(x) is positive. By the Intermediate Value Theorem, g(x) would then have a positive root, a contradiction. Therefore b 0 is positive. We have that ( ) p a 0 = b 0 ( 1) p r i so a 0 is positive if p is even and a 0 is negative if p is odd. Since the leading coefficient of f is 1, and so is positive, the number of sign changes must be even when a 0 is positive and odd when a 0 is negative. This allows us to conclude that p and v are both even or both odd. We now will show that p v. We will do this by induction on n, the degree of f. If n = 1 we have that f(x) = x + a 0 (recall we are assuming that the leading coefficient is 1). There is only one root of this polynomial, r 1 = a 0. If a 0 > 0, then f has no sign changes, v = 0, and its only root is negative, p = 0, so v = p. If a 0 < 0, then f has one sign change, v = 1, and on positive root, p = 1, so v = p again. Now assume that n > 1. Let q denote the number of positive roots of f (x) and w denote the number of sign changes of the coefficients of f. Since i=1 i=1 f (x) = nx n 1 + (n 1)a n 1 x n a 1 the number of sign changes is at most v, so w v. It is possible that a 1 = 0 and so our induction hypothesis does not directly apply. If this is the case, we can divide f (x) by some power x k of x and yield a new polynomial h(x) = f (x)/x k whose constant term is nonzero. Note that the number of sign changes in h(x) is still w and the number of positive roots is still q. Applying the induction hypothesis we have q w. Rolle s Theorem implies that p 1 q. Therefore p 1 q w v. We therefore have that p 1 v. We cannot have that p 1 = v since p and q are both even or both odd. Therefore p v, the desired conclusion (c.f. [Con57]). It is assumed that the polynomials are written in descending powers of x. We will represent the coefficients of the polynomial f(x) in the sequence {a n, a n 1,..., a 1, a 0 }. Some of the coefficients of the real polynomial may be zero. We will only be considering the nonzero coefficients. Let any coefficient a i < 0 be represented by 1 and a i > 0 be represented by 1. In order to gain a better understanding of Descartes s rule, we ll begin with an example. Example Consider the polynomial f(x) = x 3 3x 2 4x

3 For this polynomial, the signs for the leading coefficients are represented by (1, 1, 1, 1) resulting in two sign changes, therefore v = 2. According to Descartes s Rule of Signs, f(x) has either r = 2 2(0) = 2 or r = 2 2(1) = 0 positive roots. Hence, there is a maximum of 2 positive real roots and a minimum of 0 positive real root. Example Now, consider the polynomial f(x) = x 5 x 4 + 3x 3 + 9x 2 x + 5. The signs for the leading coefficients are represented by (1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1), resulting in four sign changes, v = 4. According to Descartes s Rule of Signs, the polynomial has either 4, 2, or no positive roots. So, there is a maximum of 4 positive roots. Example Consider the polynomial f(x) = x 6 x 4 + 2x 2 3x 1. For this polynomial, the signs for the leading coefficients are represented by (1, 1, 1, 1, 1) resulting in three sign changes, therefore v = 3. According to Descartes s Rule of Signs, f(x) has either r = 3 2(0) = 3 or r = 3 2(1) = 1 positive roots. Hence, there is a maximum of 3 positive real roots and a minimum of 1 positive real root. It was mentioned that Descartes s Rule of Signs can be used to determine the positive and the negative roots of a polynomials with real coefficients. Exercise How can the Descartes s Rule of Signs be used to determine the number of negative roots for a polynomial with real coefficients? Hint: Use f( x). So far all of our examples have had at least two sign changes. Now, let us think about what happens when there are only one or no sign changes in the polynomial (i.e. v = 1 or v = 0). Recall, that we can only have a nonnegative number of roots, r 0, and that r can only be reduced by even values. Exercise How many roots polynomials have with only one sign change? no sign change? Exercise Determine the number of possible positive and negative roots for the following polynomials using Descartes s Rule of Signs. 1. f(x) = x 4 2x 3 + 4x 2 3x q(x) = x 9 + 3x 8 5x 3 + 4x p(x) = 2x 3 + 5x 2 + x f(x) = 3x x 2 + 5x 4. 3

4 In the statement of Descartes s Rule of Signs, it is assumed that a 0 0. What happens if a 0 = 0? Let us assume that a 0 = 0, then f(x) = a n x n + a n 1 x n a 1 x where a i R, i = 1,..., n. Can we still use Descartes s Rule of Signs? Yes! Exercise Given that a 0 = 0, show how Descartes s Rule of Signs can still be used to determine the positive (and negative) real roots for the polynomial. Hint: x = 0 is not considered a positive nor negative root. Divide. 1.2 Budan-Fourier Theorem There are times when we want to know more than the number of real roots of a polynomial. We would prefer to know the exact values of the roots or an approximation. In order to determine real roots, we must know where they are located on the real line. A theorem used to determine an interval which contains a root is the Budan-Fourier theorem. Theorem 1.2. (Budan-Fourier Theorem) Let f(x) = 0 be a nonconstant polynomial of degree n with real coefficients. changes of signs in the sequence Designate by v(c) the number of f(x), f (x), f (x),..., f (n) (x) when x = c, where c is any real number. Then the number of zeros of f in the interval (a, b], counted with their orders of multiplicity is equal to v(a) v(b) 2m, for some m N (c.f. [Con43]). Proof: Let the interval (a, b] be denoted by I. Let p equal the number of roots of f(x) = 0 on the interval I. It can be seen that p is equal to the number of positive non-zero roots of f(x + a) = f(a) + f (a)x f (a)x n! f (n) (a)x n = 0 (1) minus the number of positive non-zero roots of f(x + b) = f(b) + f (b)x f (b)x n! f (n) (b)x n = 0. (2) This follows from the fact that equations (1) and (2) are obtained by diminishing the roots of f(x) = 0 by a and b respectively. By Descartes rule of signs, it follows that (1) has v(a) 2h 1 positive roots and that (2) has v(b) 2h 2 positive roots, for integers h 1 0 and h 2 0. Therefore p = (v(a) 2h 1 ) (v(b) 2h 2 ) = v(a) v(b) 2m, (3) where m = h 1 h 2. We only need to prove that m 0. 4

5 The proof that m 0 will be effected by mathematical induction. It can be verified that m 0 if f(x) has degree one. Hence it will be sufficient to show that this inequality holds for every equation of degree n if the corresponding inequality holds for every equation of degree n 1. We shall therefore base the argument to follow upon the assumption that the specified inequality is valid for every equation of degree n 1. Now let q denote the number of roots of the equation f (x) = 0 in the interval I, and let v (c) denote the number of variations of sign in the sequence f (x), f (x),..., f (n) (x), when x = c, where c is any real number. By a similar argument to that which led to (3), it can be shown that q = v (a) v (b) 2m where m is a positive integer or zero. It can also be determined that m 0 by assumption. It follows from Rolle s theorem that q p 1, say q = p 1 + s where s 0 is an integer. We also note that v(a) = v (a) or v(a) = v (a) + 1, and The possible combinations are v(b) = v (b) or v(b) = v (b) + 1. Hence, v(a) v(b) = v (a) v (b) v(a) v(b) = v (a) (v (b) + 1) = v (a) v (b) 1 v(a) v(b) = (v (a) + 1) v (b) = v (a) v (b) + 1 v(a) v(b) = (v (a) + 1) (v (b) + 1) = v (a) v (b). v(a) v(b) v (a) v (b) 1. (4) Consider the first case in which v(a) v(b) > v (a) v (b) 1. Then v(a) v(b) v (a) v (b) = q + 2m = p 1 + s + 2m. (5) Now if s + 2m 0, we have v(a) v(b) p. It follows from (3) that m 0, as was to be proved. If s + 2m = 0, we have v(a) v(b) p 1. But it follows from (3) that v(a) v(b) p is even, and hence v(a) v(b) p 1. Consequencely v(a) v(b) > p 1, and therefore v(a) v(b) p. Again it follows from (3) that m 0. Now consider the case in which the two members of (4) are equal. This is possible only if v(a) = v (a), and v(b) = v (b) + 1. (6) It will be shown later that, if (6) holds, then q p. Assuming this fact for the moment, and letting q = p + t, where t 0 is an integer, we have v(a) v(b) = v (a) v (b) 1 = q + 2m 1 = p + t + 2m 1. (7) The first and last members of (7) are essentially the same in (5). And by an argument similar to that developed in connection with (5) it can be shown that m 0 in the case under consideration. 5

6 To complete the proof we need to show that q p if (6) holds. In this case f(b) 0, and if f (b) 0, then f(b) and f (b) must have different signs. Now let r be the greatest root of f(x) = 0 in the interval I. Then f (x) must vanish at least once in the interval r < x b, or otherwise f(b) and f (b) would be the same sign. Hence, the equation f (x) = 0 has in the interval I the p 1 roots vouched for by Rolle s theorem, and at least one additional root in the interval r < x b. Therefore q p (c.f. [Con43]). We will expand on previous examples to demonstrate the Budan-Fourier theorem. Example Consider the polynomial in Example f(x) = x 3 3x 2 4x + 13, f (x) = 3x 2 6x 4, f (x) = 6x 6, f (3) (x) = 6. Hence, we get Table 1. Table 1: Budan-Fourier Sign Variations x f(x) f (x) f (x) f (3) (x) Variations In Table 1, the rows x = and x = can be interpreted as follows. As x approaches positive infinity, any nonzero polynomial is eventually always positive or always negative. We denote v( ) this sign. The variation v( ) is defined in a similar manner. By Descartes s Rule of Signs there are either 2 or no positive real roots and one negative real root. From Table 1 we get, v( 3) v( 2) 2m = 3 2 2m = 1, v( 2) v( 1) 2m = 2 2 2m = 0, v( 1) v(0) 2m = 2 2 2m = 0, v(0) v(1) 2m = 2 2 2m = 0, v(1) v(2) 2m = 2 2 2m = 0, v(2) v(3) 2m = 2 0 2m = 2 2m. Using the Budan-Fourier theorem, we can determine where these real roots are located. The Budan-Fourier theorem shows that there are no real roots on the interval (, 3] since v(a) 6

7 v(b) 2m = 0 for all a, b (, 3]. Since f (i) (3) 0 for i = 0,..., 3, the polynomial has no real roots in the interval [3, ). By the Budan-Fourier theorem, any of the possible 2 or no positive real roots are on the interval [2, 3]. There is also a negative real root on the interval [ 3, 2]. Again note that the exact number and location of the real roots will take some additional investigation: one can compute that the polynomial has 3 real roots, they are approximately , , Example Consider the polynomial in Example Hence, we get Table 2. f(x) = x 5 x 4 + 3x 3 + 9x 2 x + 5, f (x) = 5x 4 4x 3 + 9x x 1, f (x) = 20x 3 12x x + 18, f (3) (x) = 60x 2 24x + 18, f (4) (x) = 120x 24, f (5) (x) = 120. Table 2: Budan-Fourier Sign Variations x f(x) f (x) f (x) f (3) (x) f (4) (x) f (5) (x) Variations By Descartes s Rule of Signs there are either 4, 2, or no positive real roots and one negative real root. From Table 2 we get, v( 3) v( 2) 2m = 5 5 2m = 0, v( 2) v( 1) 2m = 5 4 2m = 1, v( 1) v(0) 2m = 4 4 2m = 0, v(0) v(1) 2m = 4 0 2m = 4 2m. Since f (i) (1) 0 for i = 0, 1,..., 5, the polynomial has no real roots in the interval [1, ). By the Budan-Fourier theorem, any of the possible 4, 2, or no positive real roots are on the interval [0, 1]. Since v(a) v(b) 2m = 0 for all a, b (, 3], the Budan-Fourier theorem also shows that there are no real roots on the interval (, 3]. However, there is a negative real root on the interval [ 2, 1]. Again note that the exact number and location of the real roots will take some additional investigation: one can compute that the polynomial has only 1 real roots, which is approximately

8 Example Consider the polynomial in Example f(x) = x 6 x 4 + 2x 2 3x 1, f (x) = 6x 5 4x 3 + 4x 3, f (x) = 30x 4 12x 2 + 4, f (3) (x) = 120x 3 24x, f (4) (x) = 360x 2 24, f (5) (x) = 720x, f (6) (x) = 720. Hence, we get Table 3. Table 3: Budan-Fourier Sign Variations x f(x) f (x) f (x) f (3) (x) f (4) (x) f (5) (x) f (6) (x) Variations By Descartes s Rule of Signs there are either 3 or 1 positive real roots and either 3 or 1 negative roots. From Table 3 we get, v( 2) v( 1) 2m = 6 6 2m = 0 (8) v( 1) v(0) 2m = 6 3 2m = 3 2m (9) v(0) v(1) 2m = 3 1 2m = 2 2m, (10) v(1) v(2) 2m = 1 0 2m = 1. (11) Using the Budan-Fourier theorem, we can determine where these real roots are located. The Budan-Fourier theorem shows that there are no real roots on the intervals (, 1] since v(a) v(b) 2m = 0 for all a, b (, 1]. Since, f (i) (1) 0 for i = 0, 1,... 6 the polynomial also has no real roots on the interval [2, ). The Budan-Fourier theorem also shows that equation (9) has either 3 or 1 real roots on the interval [ 1, 0], equation (10) has either 2 or no real roots on the interval [0, 1], and equation (11) has exactly one real root on the interval [1, 2]. Note that in order to determine the exact number and location of the real roots, some additional investigations must be done: one can compute that the polynomial has 2 real roots, they are approximately and Exercise In Exercise you determined the number of possible positive and negative roots for the following polynomials using Descartes s Rule of Signs. Now locate where these possible real roots are located on the number line. 8

9 1. f(x) = x 4 2x 3 + 4x 2 3x p(x) = 2x 3 + 5x 2 + x f(x) = 3x x 2 + 5x 4. Exercise Show that Descartes s Rule of Signs is a special case of Budan-Fourier s Theorem. Exercise The behavior of the roots of nonzero polynomials at x = and x = was mentioned earlier. Show that v( ) is the sign of the coefficient of the highest degree term. Interpret v( ) in a similar way. 1.3 Sturm s Theorem Before stating Sturm s theorem, we will first explain how to obtain the functions used by the theorem. Let f(x) be a polynomial with real coefficients and f 1 (x) := f (x) its first derivative. We will modify the Extended Euclidean Algorithm by exhibiting each remainder as the negative of a polynomial. In order words, the remainder resulting from the division of f(x) by f 1 (x) is f 2 (x); the remainder resulting from the division of f 1 (x) by f 2 (x) is f 3 (x); and so on. Continue the procedure until a constant remainder f n is obtained. So, we have f(x) = q 1 (x)f 1 (x) f 2 (x), f 1 (x) = q 2 (x)f 2 (x) f 3 (x), f 2 (x) = q 3 (x)f 3 (x) f 4 (x),. f n 2 (x) = q n 1 (x)f n 1 (x) f n, where f n = constant. Note that f n 0 if the polynomial f(x) does not have a multiple roots. The sequence of polynomials f(x), f 1 (x), f 2 (x),, f n 1 (x), f n, (12) is called the Sturm sequence. The f i are referred to as the Sturm functions. If x = c where c R, then the number of variations of signs of sequence (12) is denoted by v(c). Note that this v(c) is different than the one used for the Budan-Fourier theorem. Be careful not to confuse the two notations. Any terms of the sequence that become 0 are dropped before counting the variations in signs. In practice the computation needed to obtain Sturm functions is costly, especially if f(x) is of high degree. However, once the functions are found, it is easy to locate the real roots of the equation f(x) = 0 by the Sturm s theorem (c.f. [Con57]). Theorem 1.3. (Sturm s Theorem) Let f(x) = 0 be an algebraic equation with real coefficients and without multiple roots. If a and b are real numbers, a < b, and neither a root of the given equation, then the number of real roots of f(x) = 0 between a and b is equal to v(a) v(b) (c.f. [Con57]). Proof: We will follow the proof given in Algebra, Third Edition by S. Lang, Addison-Wesley First note that the Sturm Sequence {f 0 = f, f 1 = f,..., f n } satisfies the following four properties that follow from the definitions of the f i : 1. The last polynomial f n is a non-zero constant. 2. There is no point x [a, b] such that f j (x) = f j+1 (x) = 0 for any value j = 0,..., n 1. 9

10 3. If x [a, b] and f j (x) = 0 for some j = 1,..., n 1, then f j 1 (x) and f j+1 (x) have opposite signs. 4. We have f 0 (a) 0 and f 0 (b) 0. Item 1. follows from the fact that f has no multiple roots. To verify Item 2. note that f j = q i f j+1 f j+2. (13) Therefore, if f j (x) = f j+1 (x) = 0, we would have f j+2 (x) = 0, and by induction, f n (x) = 0, a contradiction. Item 3. follow from the fact that if f j (x) = 0, then equation (13) implies that f j 1 (x) = f j+1 (x). Item 4. is part of the definition of a and b. Let r 1 <... < r s be a list of the zeros of the Sturm functions on the interval [a, b], and we first assume that a < r 1 and r s < b. Note that v(x) is constant on any interval (r i, r i+1 ). Therefore it is enough to show that if c < d are any numbers such that there is precisely one element r that is a root of some f j with c < r < d, then v(c) v(d) = 1 if r is a root of f and v(c) v(d) = 0 if r is a not a root of f. The conclusion of the theorem will then follow from the fact that v(a) v(b) = [v(x 0 ) v(x 1 )] + [v(x 1 ) v(x 2 )] [v(x s 1 ) v(x s )] where the x i are selected such that r i < x i < r i+1 and x 0 = a, x s = b. Suppose that r is a root of some f j. By Item 3. we have that f j 1 (r) and f j+1 (r) have opposite signs and by Item 2. these do not change when we replace r by c or d, thus sign(f i (c)) = sign(f i (d)) for all i j, and sign(f j (c)) = sign(f j (d)). Therefore, there will be one sign change in each of the triples {f j 1 (c), f j (c), f j+1 (c)} {f j 1 (d), f j (d), f j+1 (d)}. If r is not a roof of f, then we have that v(c) = v(d). If r is a root of f then f(c) and f(d) have opposite signs. We also have that f (r) 0, so f (c) and f (d) have the same sign. If f(c) < 0 then f must be increasing so f(d) > 0, f (c) > 0 and f (d) > 0 and if f(c) > 0, then f must be decreasing so f(d) < 0, f (c) < 0 and f (d) < 0. Therefore there is one sign change in {f(c), f (c)} and none in {f(d), f (d)}. So we have v(c) = v(d) + 1 (c.f. [Lan93]). Finally, if a = r 1 or r s = b, since f(a) 0 and f(b) 0, the above argument shows that v(a) = v(x 0 ) for a sufficiently close x 0 a and similarly v(b) = v(x s ) for some x s b. Remark: Notice that Sturm s theorem is limited to polynomials that do not have multiple roots. In general, assume that gcd(f, f ) = d, a positive degree polynomial. In this case we can prove that if a < b R not roots of f then that v(a) v(b) is the number of roots in [a, b] not counting multiplicities. To prove this, one can replace the Sturm sequence (f 0 = f, f 1 = f, f 2,..., f n = d) by the sequence (f 0 /d, f 1 /d, f 2 /d,..., f n /d). Note that the sign variations of this new sequence at a and b are still v(a) and v(b) respectively, but now we can apply the proof of Sturm s Theorem for this sequence to prove that v(a) v(b) is equal to the number of roots of f/d in [a, b], thus counting the roots without multiplicity. In order to gain a better understanding of the theorem we will expand on previous examples. Example (C.f. [Con57], p.88) Consider the polynomial in Examples and f(x) = x 3 3x 2 4x

11 Use Sturm s theorem to isolate the roots of the equation f(x) = 0. We will be using Maple to calculate the remainders. The first derivative of f(x) is f 1 (x) = 3x 2 6x 4. Using Maple, we can determine f 2 (x) which is the negative remainder of f(x) divided by f 1 (x). Maple Code: > r:= rem(f,f_1,x, q ); > f_2 := -r; r := 14 3 x > q; f 2 := 14 3 x 35 3 q := 1 3 x 1 3 Given that q is the quotient of f divided by f 1 and r is the remainder, we obtain ( 1 x 3 3x 2 4x + 13 = 3 x 1 ) (3x 2 6x 4 ) ( x + 35 ). 3 Again using Maple, we can determine f 3 (x) which is the negative remainder of f 1 (x) divided by f 2 (x). Maple Code: > r:= rem(f_1,f_2,x, q ); > f_3 := -r; r := 1 4 > q; f 3 := 1 4 q := 9 14 x Given that q is the quotient of f 1 divided by f 2 and r is the remainder, we obtain ( 9 3x 2 6x 4 = 14 x + 9 ) ( x 35 ) Therefore, the list of Sturm functions is as follows f = x 3 3x 2 4x + 13, f 1 = 3x 2 6x 4, f 2 = 14 3 x 35 3, f 3 =

12 Table 4: Sturm Function Sign Variations x f f 1 f 2 f 3 Variations The signs of Sturm functions for selected x are in Table 4. We can see from Table 4 that v( 3) v( 2) = 3 2 = 1 v(2) v(3) = 2 0 = 2 and the other combinations of v(a) v(b) are equal to zero. Therefore, by Sturm s Theorem we know there is a single root between 3 and 2 and that there are exactly two roots between 2 and 3. Example Consider the polynomial in Examples and f(x) = x 5 x 4 + 3x 3 + 9x 2 x + 5. Use Sturm s theorem to isolate the roots of the equation f(x) = 0. We will be using Maple to calculate the remainders. The first derivative of f(x) is f 1 (x) = 5x 4 4x 3 + 9x x 1. Using Maple we will determine the remainder r and quotient q of f i and f i+1 and assigning r to f i+2. We will denote f 0 as f in all code. Dividing f(x) by f 1 (x), we get Maple Code: > r:= rem(f,f_1,x, q ); > f_2 := -r; > q; r := x x x f 2 := x x x q := 1 5 x 1 25 Given that q is the quotient of f divided by f 1 and r is the remainder, we obtain ( 1 x 5 x 4 + 3x 3 + 9x 2 x + 5 = 5 x 1 ) ( 26 f 1 (x) x x x ). 25 Now, divide f 1 (x) by f 2 (x) to get 12

13 Maple Code: > r:= rem(f_1,f_2,x, q ); > f_3 := -r; > q; r := x x f 3 := x x q := x Given that q is the quotient of f 1 divided by f 2 and r is the remainder, we obtain ( 5x 4 4x 3 + 9x x 1 = x ) ( f 2 (x) x x ). 169 Now, divide f 2 (x) by f 3 (x) to get Maple Code: > r:= rem(f_2,f_3,x, q ); > f_4 := -r; > q; r := x f 4 := x q := x Given that q is the quotient of f 2 divided by f 3 and r is the remainder, we obtain x x x 124 ( = x ) f 3 (x) Lastly, divide f 3 (x) by f 4 (x) to get Maple Code: > r:= rem(f_3,f_4,x, q ); ( x ). > f_5 := -r; > q; r := f 5 := q := x

14 Given that q is the quotient of f 3 divided by f 4 and r is the remainder, we obtain ( x x x = Therefore, the list of Sturm functions is as follows f = x 5 x 4 + 3x 3 + 9x 2 x + 5, f 1 = 5x 4 4x 3 + 9x x 1, f 2 = x x x , f 3 = x x , f 4 = x , f 5 = ) f 3 (x) The signs of the Sturm functions for select significant values of x are in Table 5. We can see from Table 5 that v( 2) v( 1) = 3 2 = 1 and the other combinations of v(a) v(b) are equal to zero. Therefore, by Sturm s Theorem we know there is a single root between 2 and 1 and no others. Table 5: Sturm Function Sign Variations x f f 1 f 2 f 3 f 4 f 5 Variations Maple was used in all of the examples to compute Sturm functions. Depending on the degree of the polynomial we are given, this can be very tedious. There are calls in Maple that will generate the Sturm functions and another which will give the number of real roots of a polynomial on an interval. sturm - number of real roots of a polynomial in an interval sturmseq - Sturm sequence of a polynomial Calling Sequence > sturmseq(p,x); > sturm(s,x,a,b); 14

15 Parameters p - polynomial in x with rational or float coefficients x - variable in polynomial p a, b - rationals or floats such that a b; a can be and b can be s - Sturm sequence for polynomial p Note: The interval excludes the lower endpoint a and includes the upper endpoint b (unless it is ). This is different from how the Sturm theorem is stated in Theorem 1.3. Exercise Use the call sequences in Maple mentioned above to generate Sturm functions for Examples 1.3.1, 1.3.2, and How do the Maple generated Sturm functions differ from those in the examples? Does it change the intervals where the real roots can be found? Exercise Create a procedure in Maple that will output Sturm functions given a polynomial with real coefficients. Check your Sturm functions with those generated by the call sequence in Maple. Exercise In Exercise you located the possible real roots on the number line using the Budan-Fourier theorem. Now, isolate the real roots of each of the following equations by means of Sturm s theorem: 1. f(x) = x 4 2x 3 + 4x 2 3x p(x) = 2x 3 + 5x 2 + x f(x) = 3x x 2 + 5x Generalized Sturm s Theorem The Generalized Sturm s Theorem can be used to find roots of polynomials that satisfy polynomial inequalities. Theorem 1.4. (Generalized Sturm s Theorem) Let f(x), g(x) R[x] and consider the Sturm sequence [f 0 = f, f 1 = f g, f 2,..., f n ] defind by the Eucledian algorithm on f and f g. As above, for c R, v(c) denotes the number of sing changes in the sequence [f 0 (c), f 1 (c),..., f n (c)]. If a and b are real numbers, a < b, and neither a of f, then v(a) v(b) = #{c [a, b] : f(c) = 0 and g(c) > 0} #{c [a, b] : f(c) = 0 and g(c) < 0}. Proof: First note that similarly as in the proof of Sturm s theorem above we can divide up [a, b] to x 0 = a < x 1 < < x s = b such that there is a unique root of f j in each open interval (x i, x i+1 ). Also, the same argument as in the proof of Sturm s theorem we can see that if this root is not a root of f, then v(x i ) = v(x i+1 ). Therefore, it is enough to prove that if there is a unique c (a, b) such thatf(c) = 0 then v(a) v(b) = sign(g(c)). Denote by where r > 0, ϕ(c) 0 and ψ(c) 0. f(x) = (x c) r ϕ(x), and g(x) = (x c) s ψ(x) 15

16 Case 1: First assume that s = 0, so ψ(x) = g(x). We will consider the polynomial f f g because v(a) v(b) = #signchange [f(a), f g(a)] #signchange [f(b), f g(b)], and #signchange [ f(x), f g(x) ] { 1 if sign(ff g(x)) = 1 = 0 if sign(ff. g(x)) = 1 Since f (x) = r(x c) r 1 ϕ(x) + (x c) r ϕ (x) we get f(x) f (x) g(x) = (x c) 2r 2 ( r(x c)ϕ 2 (x)g(x) + (x c) 2 ϕ(x)ϕ (x)g(x) ). Then (x c) 2r 2 0. Since lim x c rϕ2 (x)g(x) + (x c)ϕ(x)ϕ (x)g(x) = rϕ 2 (x)g(x), therefore if x is sufficiently close to c we have that sign(ff g(x)) = sign ( r(x c)ϕ 2 (x)g(x) + (x c) 2 ϕ(x)ϕ (x)g(x) ) = sign ((x c)g(c)). This implies that sign(ff g(a)) = sign(g(c)), sign(ff g(b)) = sign(g(c)). Thus #signchange [ f(a), f g(a) ] = which implies that v(a) v(b) = sign(g(c)), as claimed. { 1 if g(c) > 0 0 if g(c) < 0, #signchange [ f(b), f g(b) ] { 1 if g(c) < 0 = 0 if g(c) > 0, Case 2: s > 0. Then (x c) r divides gcd(f, f g), so we can replace the sequence [f, f g, f 2,..., f n ] by [f/(x c) r, f g/(x c) r, f 2 /(x c) r,..., f n /(x c) r ]. This new sequence will have the same number of variations of signs v(a) and v(b), but since f/(x c) r has no zeroes in [a, b], the sign variation v(a) v(b) must be 0 = g(c) = sign(g(c)), as claimed. 2 Appendix We will note a few facts from calculus that were used in the proofs above. 2.1 Rolle s Theorem Theorem 2.1. Let f(x) = 0 be an algebraic equation with real coefficients. Between two consecutive real roots a and b of this equation there is an odd number of roots of the equation f (x) = 0. A root of multiplicity m is here counted as m roots (c.f. [Con57]). 2.2 Intermediate Value Theorem Theorem 2.2. Suppose that f is continuous on the closed interval [a, b] and let N be any number between f(a) and f(b), where f(a) f(b). Then there exists a number c in (a, b) such that f(c) = N (c.f. [Ste06], p.124). 16

17 One of general uses of the Intermediate Value Theorem is to find real solutions to equations. A simple example from calculus will help clarify any questions. Example (C.f. [Ste06], p. 125) Show there is a root of the equation 4x 3 6x 2 + 3x 2 = 0 on the interval [1, 2]. Solution Let f(x) = 4x 3 6x 2 + 3x 2. We want to show there exists a number c between 1 and 2 that is a solution to f(x) such that f(c) = 0. Consider a = 1, b = 2 and N = 0 in the Intermediate Value Theorem. Then f(1) = = 1 < 0 and f(2) = = 12 > 0. Therefore, f(1) < 0 < f(2), that is, N = 0 is a number between f(1) and f(2). Since f is continuous function the Intermediate Value Theorem says there exists a number c between 1 and 2 such that f(c) = 0. So, the equation 4x 3 6x 2 + 3x 2 = 0 has at least root on the interval (1, 2). References [Con43] N. B. Conkwright. An elementary proof of the budan-fourier theorem. The American Mathematical Monthly, 50(10): , December [Con57] N. B. Conkwright. Introduction to the Theory of Equations. Ginn and Company, Boston, MA, [FN04] Jonathan Forde and Patrick Nelson. Applications of sturm sequences to bifurcation analysis of delay differential equation models. Mathematical Analysis and Applications, 300: , [Lan93] Serge Lang. Algebra. Addison-Wesley, 3rd edition, [Mig92] M. Mignotte. Mathematics for Computer Algebra. Springer-Verlag, New York, NY, [Ste06] J. Stewart. Calculus: Concepts and Contexts. Thomson Brooks/Cole, Belmont, CA, 3rd edition,

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