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Re: FindRoot repeatedly evaluating function

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  • Subject: [mg121093] Re: FindRoot repeatedly evaluating function
  • From: Simon Pearce <Simon.Pearce at>
  • Date: Sat, 27 Aug 2011 08:16:25 -0400 (EDT)
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Hi Bobby,

Thanks for your quick response. Why then if I store the result using f[a_]:=f[a] does it only do it twice? The first two results are being done at the same value (at least to machine precision I assume), with a third being done very slightly away.

My actual problem is not amenable to symbolic solving.


-----Original Message-----
From: DrMajorBob [mailto:btreat1 at]
Sent: 25 August 2011 18:10
To: mathgroup at; Simon Pearce
Subject: [mg121093] Re: FindRoot repeatedly evaluating function

FindRoot makes several evaluations near each guess to estimate the 
derivative numerically, and uses that to compute another guess. There's 
nothing odd or surprising about it.

To avoid all that (where possible), use symbolic solvers instead:

Solve[x[10] == 0 /.
   First@DSolve[{x''[S] - x'[S] + x[S] == 0, x[0] == 1, x'[0] ==
= a}, x,
      S], a]

{{a -> (Csc[5 Sqrt[3]] (-3 Cos[5 Sqrt[3]] + Sqrt[3] Sin[5 Sqrt[3]]))/(
    2 Sqrt[3])}}


On Thu, 25 Aug 2011 06:05:19 -0500, Simon Pearce 
<Simon.Pearce at> wrote:

> Hi Mathgroup,
> When I use FindRoot[f[y],y] I find that the inner function f is 
> evaluated 3 or 4 times at each value of y (or at least very similar 
> values), even if y is far from the root. This has obvious implications 
> to the speed of my code.
> Can anyone explain why this is the case, and tell me any way to stop it 
> from repeatedly evaluating f? If I use f[a]:=f[a]=... then it uses the 
> stored result, but I don't want to store thousands of such real valued 
> expressions.
> The following simple code shows the essence of the problem, using Print 
> to show where the function is evaluated and its value there.
> f[a_?NumericQ]:=Module[{sol},
>   sol=NDSolve[{x''[S]-x'[S]+x[S]==0,x[0]==1,x'[0]==a},x,{S, 0,10}][[1]];
>   Print[{a,x[10]/.sol}]; x[10]/.sol ]
> FindRoot[f[y],{y,6}]
> Thanks,
> Simon Pearce
> Postdoctoral Researcher
> The Centre for Plant Integrative Biology
> School of Biosciences
> University of Nottingham
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DrMajorBob at

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