       Re: Problems with differentiating Piecewise functions

• To: mathgroup at smc.vnet.net
• Subject: [mg87111] Re: Problems with differentiating Piecewise functions
• From: hlovatt <howard.lovatt at gmail.com>
• Date: Tue, 1 Apr 2008 03:21:18 -0500 (EST)
• References: <200803260955.EAA09634@smc.vnet.net> <fsg6r6\$j9q\$1@smc.vnet.net>

```On Mar 29, 8:30 pm, Andrzej Kozlowski <a... at mimuw.edu.pl> wrote:
> On 28 Mar 2008, at 12:26, Andrzej Kozlowski wrote:
>
>
>
>
>
> > On 28 Mar 2008, at 09:16, hlovatt wrote:
> >> On Mar 28, 12:18 am, Andrzej Kozlowski <a... at mimuw.edu.pl> wrote:
> >>> On 26 Mar 2008, at 10:55, hlovatt wrote:
>
> >>>> If I set up a piecewise function and differentiate it:
>
> >>>> In:= pw1 = Piecewise[{{x^2, x <= 0}, {x, x > 0}}]
>
> >>>> Out= \[Piecewise] {
> >>>> {x^2, x <= 0},
> >>>> {x, x > 0}
> >>>> }
>
> >>>> In:= pw1 /. x -> 0
>
> >>>> Out= 0
>
> >>>> In:= pw1d = D[pw1, x]
>
> >>>> Out= \[Piecewise] {
> >>>> {2 x, x < 0},
> >>>> {1, x > 0},
> >>>> {Indeterminate, \!\(\*
> >>>>   TagBox["True",
> >>>>    "PiecewiseDefault",
> >>>>    AutoDelete->False,
> >>>>    DeletionWarning->True]\)}
> >>>> }
>
> >>>> In:= pw1d /. x -> 0
>
> >>>> Out= Indeterminate
>
> >>>> Then at the joins between the pieces I get Indeterminate values,
> >>>> because the limit x <= 0 has become x < 0 after differentiation.
> >>>> Does
> >>>> anyone know a solution to this problem?
>
> >>>> Thanks,
>
> >>>> Howard.
>
> >>> What do you mean by "a solution to this problem"? You have a
> >>> function that is not differentiable at 0 and you would like it's
> >>> derivative to have a value there? You can't expect a "solution to a
> >>> problem" when you do not tell us what is the problem (except the
> >>> fact
> >>> that not all functions are differentiable - but that's life).
> >>> Note that is your pieceise function is actually differentiable than
> >>> the derivative is defined everywhere:
>
> >>> pw2 = Piecewise[{{x^2, x <= 0}, {x^3, x > 0}}];
>
> >>> pw2d = D[pw2, x]
> >>> Piecewise[{{2*x, x < 0}, {0, x == 0}}, 3*x^2]
>
> >>> This is also as it should be. What else would you expect?
>
> >>> Andrzej Kozlowski
>
> >> Thanks to everyone who replied. I have to apologise for the bad
> >> example that I posted (I simplified my problem by cutting and pasting
> >> an example from the help file to keep the post short). I am actually
> >> fitting cubic splines and the functions are continuous up to the
> >> second derivative (at least to the accuracy of machine precision). A
> >> better example is:
>
> >> In:= pw[x_] :=
> >> Piecewise[{{0.+ 0.007508378277320685 x + 7.561460342471517*10^-7 x^3,
> >>    x < 50}, {-4.8729206849430454*10^-6 (-125.76959597633721 +
> >>      x) (1148.1044516606876- 47.50636365246156 x + x^2), 50 <= x}}]
>
> >> In:= pw[x]
>
> >> Out= \[Piecewise] {
> >> {0.+ 0.00750838 x + 7.56146*10^-7 x^3, x < 50},
> >> {-4.87292*10^-6 (-125.77 + x) (1148.1- 47.5064 x + x^2), 50 <= x}
> >> }
>
> >> In:= pw
>
> >> Out= 0.469937
>
> >> In:= pw[50 + 10^-30]
>
> >> Out= 0.469937
>
> >> In:= pw[50 - 10^-30]
>
> >> Out= 0.469937
>
> >> In:= pw'[x]
>
> >> Out= \[Piecewise] {
> >> {0.00750838+ 2.26844*10^-6 x^2, x < 50},
> >> {-4.87292*10^-6 (-125.77 + x) (-47.5064 + 2 x) -
> >>   4.87292*10^-6 (1148.1- 47.5064 x + x^2), x > 50},
> >> {Indeterminate, \!\(\*
> >>    TagBox["True",
> >>     "PiecewiseDefault",
> >>     AutoDelete->False,
> >>     DeletionWarning->True]\)}
> >> }
>
> >> In:= pw'
>
> >> Out= Indeterminate
>
> >> In:= pw'[50 + 10^-30]
>
> >> Out= 0.0131795
>
> >> In:= pw'[50 - 10^-30]
>
> >> Out= 0.0131795
>
> >> Also if you Plot pw or pw' you get an annoying gap in the plot at the
> >> join (but strangely not pw''). My guess is that Mathematica is too
> >> pedantic about machine precision and is treating each piece as an
> >> algebraic equation. However this does not explain why Plot behaves
> >> funnily and doesn't help if you are trying to do numerical analysis.
>
> > You are violating one of the most fundamental principles of computer
> > algebra: do not mix approximate numbers with symbolic computation.
> > More correctly, such "mixing" requires a great deal of care and
> > symbolic algebraic techniques that can deal with approximate numbers
> > (and even more so with machine precision input) are still in their
> > infancy. (In fact Mathematica is one of the few systems that make it
> > to some extent possible). In your case the symbolic technique you
> > are using is differentiation of a piecewise function, and this
> > cannot be reliably combined with numerical precision input.
>
> > The answer to your problem is simple. Switch from using a mixture of
> > symbolic methods and approximate input to a purely numeric setting.
> > The best way to do this, I think, is by using FunctionInterpolation.
> > So what you need to do is this:
>
> > pw[x_] :=
> > Piecewise[{{0. + 0.007508378277320685 x + 7.561460342471517*10^-7 x^3,
> >    x < 50}, {-4.8729206849430454*10^-6 (-125.76959597633721 +
> >       x) (1148.1044516606876 - 47.50636365246156 x + x^2), 50 <= x}}]
>
> > f = FunctionInterpolation[pw[x], {x, 0, 80}];
>
> > Plot[f[x], {x, 40, 60}]
>
> > shows a continuous curve
>
> > Plot[f'[x], {x, 40, 60}]
>
> > shows an almost smooth curve, with a slight "kink" at the break
> > point. One could probably play with the options to
> > FunctionInterpolation to "smoothen" it.
>
> > Andrzej Kozlowski
>
> Actually, you can get a smooth looking derivative by using a higher
> interpolation order:
>
> f = FunctionInterpolation[pw[x], {x, 0, 80}, InterpolationOrder -> 10];
>
> Plot[f'[x], {x, 40, 60}]
>
> looks very smooth and so does:
>
> Plot[f''[x], {x, 40, 60}]
>
> Andrzej Kozlowski

Thanks for the advice. I was aware that I could use
FunctionInterpolation but I actually wanted to plot my splines not an
approximation to them. I guess I am asking too much since Piecewise
takes algebraic expressions, unlike FunctionInterpolation, and
therefore must evaluate symbolically.

```

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