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Published by Paul Muljadi

Bernoulli number

Bernoulli number

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Bernoulli number1

Bernoulli number

In mathematics, the

Bernoulli numbers

B

n

are a sequence of rational numbers with deep connections to numbertheory. The values of the first few Bernoulli numbers are

B

0

= 1,

B

1

= ±

1

⁄

2

,

B

2

=

1

⁄

6

,

B

3

= 0,

B

4

=

−

1

⁄

30

,

B

5

= 0,

B

6

=

1

⁄

42

,

B

7

= 0,

B

8

=

−

1

⁄

30

.If the convention

B

1

=

−

1

⁄

2

is used, this sequence is also known as the

first Bernoulli numbers

(A027641 / A027642in OEIS); with the convention

B

1

=+

1

⁄

2

is known as the

second Bernoulli numbers

(A164555 / A027642 in OEIS).Except for this one difference, the first and second Bernoulli numbers agree. Since

B

n

=0 for all odd

n

>1, and manyformulas only involve even-index Bernoulli numbers, some authors write

B

n

instead of

B

2

n

.The Bernoulli numbers appear in the Taylor series expansions of the tangent and hyperbolic tangent functions, informulas for the sum of powers of the first positive integers, in the Euler

–

Maclaurin formula, and in expressions forcertain values of the Riemann zeta function.The Bernoulli numbers were discovered around the same time by the Swiss mathematician Jakob Bernoulli, afterwhom they are named, and independently by Japanese mathematician Seki Kōwa. Seki's discovery wasposthumously published in 1712

[1][2]

in his work

Katsuyo Sampo

; Bernoulli's, also posthumously, in his

ArsConjectandi

of 1713. Ada Lovelace's note G on the analytical engine from 1842 describes an algorithm forgenerating Bernoulli numbers with Babbage's machine.

[3]

As a result, the Bernoulli numbers have the distinction of being the subject of the first computer program.

Sum of powers

Bernoulli numbers feature prominently in the closed form expression of the sum of the

m

-th powers of the first

n

positive integers. For

m

,

n

≥

0 defineThis expression can always be rewritten as a polynomial in

n

of degree

m

+ 1. The coefficients of these polynomialsare related to the Bernoulli numbers by

Bernoulli's formula

:where the convention

B

1

= +1/2 is used. ( denotes the binomial coefficient,

m

+1 choose

k

.)For example, taking

m

to be 1 gives the triangular numbers 0, 1, 3, 6, ... (sequence A000217 in OEIS).Taking

m

to be 2 gives the square pyramidal numbers 0, 1, 5, 14, ... (sequence A000330 in OEIS).Some authors use the convention

B

1

=

−

1/2 and state Bernoulli's formula in this way:Bernoulli's formula is sometimes called Faulhaber's formula after Johann Faulhaber who also found remarkable waysto calculate sum of powers.Faulhaber's formula was generalized by V. Guo and J. Zeng to a q-analog (Guo & Zeng 2005).

Bernoulli number2

Definitions

Many characterizations of the Bernoulli numbers have been found in the last 300 years, and each could be used tointroduce these numbers. Here only four of the most useful ones are mentioned:••a recursive equation,••an explicit formula,••a generating function,••an algorithmic description.For the proof of the equivalence of the four approaches the reader is referred to mathematical expositions like(Ireland & Rosen 1990) or (Conway & Guy 1996).Unfortunately in the literature the definition is given in two variants: Despite the fact that Bernoulli defined

B

1

= 1/2(now known as "second Bernoulli numbers"), some authors set

B

1

=

−

1/2 ("first Bernoulli numbers"). In order toprevent potential confusions both variants will be described here, side by side. Because these two definitions can betransformed simply by into the other, some formulae have this alternatingly (-1)

n

-term and othersnot depending on the context, but it is not possible to decide in favor of one of these definitions to be the correct orappropriate or natural one (for the abstract Bernoulli numbers).

Recursive definition

The recursive equation is best introduced in a slightly more general formThis defines polynomials

B

m

in the variable

n

known as the Bernoulli polynomials. The recursion can also be viewedas defining rational numbers

B

m

(

n

) for all integers

n

≥

0,

m

≥

0. The expression 0

0

has to be interpreted as 1. Thefirst and second Bernoulli numbers now follow by setting

n

= 0 (resulting in

B

1

=

−

1

⁄

2

, "first Bernoulli numbers")respectively

n

= 1 (resulting in

B

1

=+

1

⁄

2

, "second Bernoulli numbers").Here the expression [

m

= 0] has the value 1 if

m

= 0 and 0 otherwise (Iverson bracket). Whenever a confusionbetween the two kinds of definitions might arise it can be avoided by referring to the more general definition and byreintroducing the erased parameter: writing

B

m

(0) in the first case and

B

m

(1) in the second will unambiguouslydenote the value in question.

Bernoulli number3

Explicit definition

Starting again with a slightly more general formulathe choices

n

= 0 and

n

= 1 lead toThere is a widespread misinformation that no simple closed formulas for the Bernoulli numbers exist (Gould 1972).The last two equations show that this is not true. Moreover, already in 1893 Louis Saalschütz listed a total of 38explicit formulas for the Bernoulli numbers (Saalschütz 1893), usually giving some reference in the older literature.

Generating function

The general formula for the generating function isThe choices

n

= 0 and

n

= 1 lead to

Algorithmic description

Although the above recursive formula can be used for computation it is mainly used to establish the connection withthe sum of powers because it is computationally expensive. However, both simple and high-end algorithms forcomputing Bernoulli numbers exist. Pointers to high-end algorithms are given the next section. A simple one is givenin pseudocode below.

Algorithm

Akiyama

–

Tanigawa algorithm for second Bernoulli numbers

B

n

Input: Integer

n

≥

0.Output: Second Bernoulli number

B

n

.

for

m

from

0

by

1

to

n

do

A

[

m

]

←

1/(

m

+1)

for

j

from

m

by

-1

to

1

do

A

[

j

-1]

←

j

×(

A

[

j

-1] -

A

[

j

])

return

A

[0] (which is

B

n

)

•

"

←

" is a shorthand for "changes to". For instance, "

largest

←

item

" means that the value of

largest

changes to the value of

item

.

•

"

return

" terminates the algorithm and outputs the value that follows.

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