[racket] Function composition in Racket

From: Neil Toronto (neil.toronto at gmail.com)
Date: Mon Oct 15 13:15:50 EDT 2012

On 10/15/2012 11:49 AM, Jens Axel Søgaard wrote:
> 2012/10/15 Stephen Bloch <bloch at adelphi.edu>:
>> But probably slower, at least for exact numbers.  If "expt" were implemented naively as "for i = 1 to num", the total number of multiplications would be quadratic in degree; if it were implemented by repeated squaring, the total number of multiplications would be O(n log(n)); with Horner's algorithm or your "values" approach, it's linear.
>> Horner's algorithm gives us
>> (lambda (poly x)
>>     (for/fold ([sum 0])
>>        ([c (polynomial-coeffs poly)])
>>        (+ c (* sum x))))
> If I recall correctly, Horner's algorithm also gives more precise results,
> when used with pseudo real numbers.

Especially true when coefficients alternate signs, producing massive 
cancellation. That's the main reason to use it, since floating-point 
exponentiation runs in constant time. (It's also a tad faster, requiring 
at least 1-2 fewer flops per coefficient... but probably many more, 
because hardware `pow' is usually broken for non-rational inputs and 
implementations have to work around that.)

What I'd really like, by the time the math library has polynomials, is a 
Horner-like algorithm for sparse polynomials of the form

     c0 + ... + cn * x^(i_n) * y^(j_n) + ...

The sequence of (i_n,j_n) can only be partially ordered, which makes it 

Neil ⊥

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