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What is the simplest way of selecting the last N terms of a polynomial?

  1. Oct 25, 2011 #1
    If you have a polynomial like (1+x)^6 = x^6+6 x^5+15 x^4+20 x^3+15 x^2+6 x+1, What function would you use to pick only the last N terms? For instance, for N=3 pick x^6+6 x^5+15 x^4

    I've being using sum of a binomial times something, but was wondering if there is anything more simple.

  2. jcsd
  3. Oct 25, 2011 #2

    Stephen Tashi

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    Science Advisor

    What do you mean by "to pick"? Can you state your question mathematically?
  4. Oct 25, 2011 #3



    for example:
  5. Oct 25, 2011 #4
    ^ I think he might just mean an (ordered) set of terms from the polynomial. The order is established by listing the coefficients in descending order of their degree.

    I think what you want isn't so complicated. It's as follows: if [itex]p \in \mathbb{R}\left[x\right][/itex] is a polynomial with degree n, i.e. [itex]p(x) = {p_n}{x^n} + {p_{n - 1}}{x^{n - 1}} + ... + {p_1}x + p_0[/itex], define the function [itex]F_k: \mathbb{R}\left[x\right] \rightarrow \mathbb{N}^k[/itex] by [itex]{F_k}(p) = (p_n, p_{n - 1}, ..., p_{n - k})[/itex]. This "gets" the first (or if you want, last) k coefficients, which is really all you need to define a polynomial.
    Last edited: Oct 25, 2011
  6. Oct 25, 2011 #5
    Exactly! This is the function I've being using. What I wonder is if there is a more simple version of it.

    Thank you very much anyways!
  7. Oct 25, 2011 #6
    I think it's the simplest way. May be, if you don't want to deal with combinatorics, use "[URL [Broken] triangle[/URL]
    Last edited by a moderator: May 5, 2017
  8. Oct 25, 2011 #7
    That only works for polynomials which can be expressed in the form (1 + x)n, though ...
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