Concept

# Stirling's approximation

Summary
In mathematics, Stirling's approximation (or Stirling's formula) is an approximation for factorials. It is a good approximation, leading to accurate results even for small values of n. It is named after James Stirling, though a related but less precise result was first stated by Abraham de Moivre. One way of stating the approximation involves the logarithm of the factorial: \ln(n!) = n\ln n - n +O(\ln n), where the big O notation means that, for all sufficiently large values of n, the difference between \ln(n!) and n\ln n-n will be at most proportional to the logarithm. In computer science applications such as the worst-case lower bound for comparison sorting, it is convenient to use instead the binary logarithm, giving the equivalent form \log_2 (n!) = n\log_2 n - n\log_2 e +O(\log_2 n). The error term in either base can be expressed more precisely as \tfrac12\log(2\pi n)+
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