Public Domain Aeronautical Software (PDAS)  

Many problems in science and engineering lead to polynomial equations and the desired physical quantities must be found by solving for the zeroes of the equation. Most books on Numerical Computing or Engineering Mathematics show examples of code for making these calculations. One must be careful with roundoff and overflow when making these calculations and the textbook examples frequently do not incorporate these "robustness" features.

The Naval Surface Weapons Center produced a collection of mathematical software that has wide acceptance. Among this collection is a very nice coding of the solution of zeroes of polynomial equations with real coefficients up to quartic order. I noted that Alan Miller of CSIRO had updated the code to comply with modern Fortran (95), using the Essential Lahey Fortran compiler, which enforces very strict standards of program structure and syntax. The modern Fortran code on the disc includes the subroutine that you may adopt in your own programming projects and a front-end program that simply inquires for the coefficients of the polynomial and then prints the answers.

If you want to see some examples of polynomials that lead to numerical difficulties in their solution, check the Difficult Zeroes page.

By the way, Alan Miller has a very nice collection of mathematical procedures coded in excellent Fortran 95 style at his web site. Highly recommended. I dip in here from time to time for something of interest. Try this mirror for now.

There are dozens, maybe thousands of web pages that are targeted with terms as 'polynomial solution', 'cubic polynomial solution' 'roots of polynomials', or similar terms. Many have embedded code that let you enter your polynomial and give you the solution. I am particularly impressed with one called PolyRootsRB, as it has arbitrary precision. The code from PDAS does not try to compete with these classy web sites. Quartic is for folks who want to embed solution code in their own programs.

Public Domain Aeronautical Software (PDAS)