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Problem with solve in handling some trigonometric equations #17162

ishanaj opened this issue Jul 7, 2019 · 3 comments


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commented Jul 7, 2019

Recently, while using solve() to get the solution of some equations, I faced some problems with solve. I am not sure whether these are proper issues but I am not getting the desired result.

>>> solve(a*sin(x) - b*cos(x), x)
[-2*atan((a - sqrt(a**2 + b**2))/b), -2*atan((a + sqrt(a**2 + b**2))/b)]

I think this should simply return atan(b/a). Is there a way I could convert the answer in this form?

Another problem:

>>> solve(tan(x) - x, x)
File "C:\Python35\lib\site-packages\sympy\solvers\", line 1162, in solve
    solution = _solve(f[0], *symbols, **flags)
  File "C:\Python35\lib\site-packages\sympy\solvers\", line 1735, in _solve
    raise NotImplementedError('\n'.join([msg, not_impl_msg % f]))
NotImplementedError: multiple generators [x, tan(x)]
No algorithms are implemented to solve equation -x + tan(x)

Should it be giving an approximate solution like wolfram does here?


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commented Jul 7, 2019

solve does not give approximate solutions. You can nsolve though:

>>> nsolve(tan(x) - x, x, 1)

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commented Jul 8, 2019

@ethankward Just another question. Since there would be many values that satisfy the equation tan(x) - x, so which value does nsolve return? I have referred the docs but I am still confused about it.


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commented Jul 9, 2019

Most of the numerical root finding method, for example, newton's method, would need a certain initial guess to work, so you would have to see the plot manually and give a good seed to find a solution.
I'm unsure about the whether the fully automated method to compute all the possible solutions, for equations like this, exists.


However, I'm still confused about the reliability of nsolve, since it fails for some guesses like nsolve(tan(x) - x, 4.1)

ValueError                                Traceback (most recent call last)
<ipython-input-84-0df7bfbdcf3b> in <module>
----> 1 nsolve(tan(x) - x, 4.1)

~\Documents\GitHub\sympy\sympy\utilities\ in func_wrapper(*args, **kwargs)
     90         dps =
     91         try:
---> 92             return func(*args, **kwargs)
     93         finally:
     94    = dps

~\Documents\GitHub\sympy\sympy\solvers\ in nsolve(*args, **kwargs)
   3004         f = lambdify(fargs, f, modules)
-> 3005         x = sympify(findroot(f, x0, **kwargs))
   3006         if as_dict:
   3007             return [{fargs: x}]

~\Miniconda3\envs\sympy_dev_37\lib\site-packages\mpmath\calculus\ in findroot(ctx, f, x0, solver, tol, verbose, verify, **kwargs)
    977                              '(%s > %s)\n'
    978                              'Try another starting point or tweak arguments.'
--> 979                              % (norm(f(*xl))**2, tol))
    980         return x
    981     finally:

ValueError: Could not find root within given tolerance. (1.09267558590813815048e-14 > 2.16840434497100886801e-19)
Try another starting point or tweak arguments.
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