This example shows how to use **variable-precision arithmetic** to obtain high precision computations using Symbolic Math Toolbox™.

Search for formulas that represent near-integers. A classic example is the following: compute $$\mathrm{exp}(\sqrt{163}\cdot \pi )$$ to 30 digits. The result appears to be an integer that is displayed with a rounding error.

digits(30); f = exp(sqrt(sym(163))*sym(pi)); vpa(f)

`ans = $$262537412640768743.999999999999$$`

Compute the same value to 40 digits. It turns out that this is not an integer.

digits(40); vpa(f)

`ans = $$262537412640768743.9999999999992500725972$$`

Investigate this phenomenon further. Below, numbers up to $$\mathrm{exp}(1000)$$ occur, and the investigation needs some correct digits after the decimal point. Compute the required working precision:

d = log10(exp(vpa(1000)))

`d = $$434.2944819032518276511289189166050822944$$`

Set the required precision before the first call to a function that depends on it. Among others, `round`

, `vpa`

, and `double`

are such functions.

digits(ceil(d) + 50);

Look for similar examples of the form $$\mathrm{exp}\phantom{\rule{-0.16666666666666666em}{0ex}}\left(\sqrt{n}\pi \right)$$. Of course, you can obtain more such numbers n by multiplying 163 by a square. But apart from that, many more numbers of this form are close to some integer. You can see this from a histogram plot of their fractional parts:

A = exp(pi*sqrt(vpa(1:1000))); B = A-round(A); histogram(double(B), 50)

Calculate if there are near-integers of the form $$\mathrm{exp}(n)$$.

A = exp(vpa(1:1000)); B = A-round(A); find(abs(B) < 1/1000)

ans = 1x0 empty double row vector

It turns out that this time the fractional parts of the elements of `A`

are rather evenly distributed.

histogram(double(B), 50)