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Sympy: Definite Integration via Integration in

the Complex Plane Proposal

Rizgar Mella
March 26, 2008

Symbolic packages become far more powerful when able to solve defi-
nite intergrals. A majority of these problems can be solved in the complex
plane. A straightforward and effective method done by hand is very pow-
erful, but translation to code may be problematic. Definite integrals are
very important in many scientific fields such as quantum mechanics, com-
bined with the importance of open source software in academic circles.
Expansion of the Sympy package to include complex variable analysis,
through the inclusion of Laplace Transforms and calculation of residues
of contours from analysis of its poles (residue calculus). The residues
allow almost all definite integrals to be resolved after reformatting into an
appropriate contour, where the sum of residues is the solution. Continuing
the expansion to include Inverse Laplacians to aid the solution of partial
differential equations will make it a more affective tool.

1 Detailed Description
The proposed addition I would like to implement for finding the solution for
definite integration and integration on complex plane using residues, is to begin
with an implementation of finding the residues appendix Figure 1 of an arbitrary
contour. The difficulty in finding the residue is to find code that detects the
poles (easy for humans, must be cautious when dealing with computers). Pole
detection can be found by decomposing the function into a tree structure, poles
can be found from a set of rules for traversing the tree e.g.( [/s(s + a)], is
two single poles one when s=0 and one when s = −a). For more complicated
examples the computer program must be more robust. Finding of the residues
with reformatting of a definite integral to an appropriate contour, will allow
almost every definite integral to become solvable. A straight forward example
in the appendix Figure 2.
With the use of the Bromwich Contour, the Inverse Laplacian function could
be created. The Bromwich Contour/Integral, easily produces a contour where
the sum of the residues is the Inverse Laplacian, a very useful mathematical
Z γ+i∞
BromwichContour = F (t) = est f (s)ds (1)
2πi γ−i∞

The finding of residues, Laplacian transform and inverse Laplacian Tranform

have many other applications such as solving partial differential equations, this
is done by running a Laplace Transform on the partial differential equation to
produce an ordinary differential equation, when solved just apply the inverse
Laplacian transform to arrive at the correct solution.
I hope to write a Residue finding, Laplacian Transform and Inverse Laplacian
Transform in python for sympy project.

2 Testing
Testing is an important step in the development of any computational imple-
mentation of a mathematical method. Evaluation of most (e.g some number to
some number) definite integrals can be validated, by first numerically evaluating
the result of the algorithm to be tested, then separately evaluating the integral
with numerical methods (well tested and trusted). Both results can be tested
to an arbitrary number of decimal places. The sympy nitegrate function can
serve as the comparison; obviously the test integrals will then have to be well-
behaved integrals. There are ways of testing non well behaved integrals, which
is to symbolically evaluate the integral over many finite domains where if the
domains are small enough, a majority will seem well behaved to the numerical
integrate method and the confidence in the symbolic method for that integral
can then be evaluated in terms of the number of successful domains evaluated
over the unsuccessful domains.
The test files in sympy contain ’test xxx’ functions filled with asserts, which
is a simple enough framework to include my proposed testing method. A random
integral generator would be an excellent extreme test, but such a piece of code
would require substantial testing on its own, only would be attempted if time

3 Appendix

Figure 1: Finding Residue Example

Figure 2: Definite Integration, with the use of residues. First Example

4 References
Example of Integration taken from: