Concept

# Rational function

Summary
In mathematics, a rational function is any function that can be defined by a rational fraction, which is an algebraic fraction such that both the numerator and the denominator are polynomials. The coefficients of the polynomials need not be rational numbers; they may be taken in any field K. In this case, one speaks of a rational function and a rational fraction over K. The values of the variables may be taken in any field L containing K. Then the domain of the function is the set of the values of the variables for which the denominator is not zero, and the codomain is L. The set of rational functions over a field K is a field, the field of fractions of the ring of the polynomial functions over K. A function is called a rational function if and only if it can be written in the form where and are polynomial functions of and is not the zero function. The domain of is the set of all values of for which the denominator is not zero. However, if and have a non-constant polynomial greatest common divisor , then setting and produces a rational function which may have a larger domain than , and is equal to on the domain of It is a common usage to identify and , that is to extend "by continuity" the domain of to that of Indeed, one can define a rational fraction as an equivalence class of fractions of polynomials, where two fractions and are considered equivalent if . In this case is equivalent to . A proper rational function is a rational function in which the degree of is less than the degree of and both are real polynomials, named by analogy to a proper fraction in . There are several non equivalent definitions of the degree of a rational function. Most commonly, the degree of a rational function is the maximum of the degrees of its constituent polynomials P and Q, when the fraction is reduced to lowest terms. If the degree of f is d, then the equation has d distinct solutions in z except for certain values of w, called critical values, where two or more solutions coincide or where some solution is rejected at infinity (that is, when the degree of the equation decrease after having cleared the denominator).
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Polynomial ring
In mathematics, especially in the field of algebra, a polynomial ring or polynomial algebra is a ring (which is also a commutative algebra) formed from the set of polynomials in one or more indeterminates (traditionally also called variables) with coefficients in another ring, often a field. Often, the term "polynomial ring" refers implicitly to the special case of a polynomial ring in one indeterminate over a field. The importance of such polynomial rings relies on the high number of properties that they have in common with the ring of the integers.
Rational function
In mathematics, a rational function is any function that can be defined by a rational fraction, which is an algebraic fraction such that both the numerator and the denominator are polynomials. The coefficients of the polynomials need not be rational numbers; they may be taken in any field K. In this case, one speaks of a rational function and a rational fraction over K. The values of the variables may be taken in any field L containing K. Then the domain of the function is the set of the values of the variables for which the denominator is not zero, and the codomain is L.
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In algebra, the partial fraction decomposition or partial fraction expansion of a rational fraction (that is, a fraction such that the numerator and the denominator are both polynomials) is an operation that consists of expressing the fraction as a sum of a polynomial (possibly zero) and one or several fractions with a simpler denominator. The importance of the partial fraction decomposition lies in the fact that it provides algorithms for various computations with rational functions, including the explicit computation of antiderivatives, Taylor series expansions, inverse Z-transforms, and inverse Laplace transforms.
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