NAG C Library Function Document

nag_zero_cont_func_brent_binsrch (c05auc)


nag_zero_cont_func_brent_binsrch (c05auc) locates a simple zero of a continuous function from a given starting value. It uses a binary search to locate an interval containing a zero of the function, then Brent's method, which is a combination of nonlinear interpolation, linear extrapolation and bisection, to locate the zero precisely.


#include <nag.h>
#include <nagc05.h>
void  nag_zero_cont_func_brent_binsrch (double *x, double h, double eps, double eta,
double (*f)(double x, Nag_Comm *comm),
double *a, double *b, Nag_Comm *comm, NagError *fail)


nag_zero_cont_func_brent_binsrch (c05auc) attempts to locate an interval a,b  containing a simple zero of the function fx  by a binary search starting from the initial point x=x  and using repeated calls to nag_interval_zero_cont_func (c05avc). If this search succeeds, then the zero is determined to a user-specified accuracy by a call to nag_zero_cont_func_brent (c05ayc). The specifications of functions nag_interval_zero_cont_func (c05avc) and nag_zero_cont_func_brent (c05ayc) should be consulted for details of the methods used.
The approximation x to the zero α is determined so that at least one of the following criteria is satisfied:
(i) x-α eps ,
(ii) fxeta .


Brent R P (1973) Algorithms for Minimization Without Derivatives Prentice–Hall


1:     x double *Input/Output
On entry: an initial approximation to the zero.
On exit: if fail.code= NE_NOERROR or NW_TOO_MUCH_ACC_REQUESTED, x is the final approximation to the zero.
If fail.code= NE_PROBABLE_POLE, x is likely to be a pole of fx.
Otherwise, x contains no useful information.
2:     h doubleInput
On entry: a step length for use in the binary search for an interval containing the zero. The maximum interval searched is x-256.0×h,x+256.0×h .
Constraint: h  must be sufficiently large that x+hx  on the computer.
3:     eps doubleInput
On entry: the termination tolerance on x (see Section 3).
Constraint: eps>0.0 .
4:     eta doubleInput
On entry: a value such that if fxeta , x is accepted as the zero. eta may be specified as 0.0 (see Section 7).
5:     f function, supplied by the userExternal Function
f must evaluate the function f whose zero is to be determined.
The specification of f is:
double  f (double x, Nag_Comm *comm)
1:     x doubleInput
On entry: the point at which the function must be evaluated.
2:     comm Nag_Comm *
Pointer to structure of type Nag_Comm; the following members are relevant to f.
userdouble *
iuserInteger *
The type Pointer will be void *. Before calling nag_zero_cont_func_brent_binsrch (c05auc) you may allocate memory and initialize these pointers with various quantities for use by f when called from nag_zero_cont_func_brent_binsrch (c05auc) (see Section in How to Use the NAG Library and its Documentation).
Note: f should not return floating-point NaN (Not a Number) or infinity values, since these are not handled by nag_zero_cont_func_brent_binsrch (c05auc). If your code inadvertently does return any NaNs or infinities, nag_zero_cont_func_brent_binsrch (c05auc) is likely to produce unexpected results.
6:     a double *Output
7:     b double *Output
On exit: the lower and upper bounds respectively of the interval resulting from the binary search. If the zero is determined exactly such that fx=0.0  or is determined so that fxeta  at any stage in the calculation, on exit a=b=x .
8:     comm Nag_Comm *
The NAG communication argument (see Section in How to Use the NAG Library and its Documentation).
9:     fail NagError *Input/Output
The NAG error argument (see Section 3.7 in How to Use the NAG Library and its Documentation).

Error Indicators and Warnings

Dynamic memory allocation failed.
See Section in How to Use the NAG Library and its Documentation for further information.
On entry, argument value had an illegal value.
An internal error has occurred in this function. Check the function call and any array sizes. If the call is correct then please contact NAG for assistance.
See Section 2.7.6 in How to Use the NAG Library and its Documentation for further information.
Your licence key may have expired or may not have been installed correctly.
See Section 2.7.5 in How to Use the NAG Library and its Documentation for further information.
Solution may be a pole rather than a zero.
On entry, eps=value.
Constraint: eps>0.0.
On entry, x=value and h=value.
Constraint: x+h or x (to machine accuracy).
An interval containing the zero could not be found. Increasing h and calling nag_zero_cont_func_brent_binsrch (c05auc) again will increase the range searched for the zero. Decreasing h and calling nag_zero_cont_func_brent_binsrch (c05auc) again will refine the mesh used in the search for the zero.
The tolerance eps has been set too small for the problem being solved. However, the value x returned is a good approximation to the zero. eps=value.


The levels of accuracy depend on the values of eps and eta. If full machine accuracy is required, they may be set very small, resulting in an exit with fail.code= NW_TOO_MUCH_ACC_REQUESTED, although this may involve many more iterations than a lesser accuracy. You are recommended to set eta=0.0  and to use eps to control the accuracy, unless you have considerable knowledge of the size of fx  for values of x near the zero.

Parallelism and Performance

nag_zero_cont_func_brent_binsrch (c05auc) is not threaded in any implementation.

Further Comments

The time taken by nag_zero_cont_func_brent_binsrch (c05auc) depends primarily on the time spent evaluating f (see Section 5). The accuracy of the initial approximation x and the value of h will have a somewhat unpredictable effect on the timing.
If it is important to determine an interval of relative length less than 2×eps containing the zero, or if f is expensive to evaluate and the number of calls to f is to be restricted, then use of nag_interval_zero_cont_func (c05avc) followed by nag_zero_cont_func_brent_rcomm (c05azc) is recommended. Use of this combination is also recommended when the structure of the problem to be solved does not permit a simple f to be written: the reverse communication facilities of these functions are more flexible than the direct communication of f required by nag_zero_cont_func_brent_binsrch (c05auc).
If the iteration terminates with successful exit and a=b=x  there is no guarantee that the value returned in x corresponds to a simple zero and you should check whether it does.
One way to check this is to compute the derivative of f at the point x, preferably analytically, or, if this is not possible, numerically, perhaps by using a central difference estimate. If fx=0.0 , then x must correspond to a multiple zero of f rather than a simple zero.


This example calculates an approximation to the zero of x-e-x  using a tolerance of eps=1.0e−5 starting from x=1.0  and using an initial search step h=0.1 .

Program Text

Program Text (c05auce.c)

Program Data


Program Results

Program Results (c05auce.r)