How can we algebraically find the intersection of an exponential function y=a^x with the straight line y=x? In other words, what is the solution to the equation a^x = x ?

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- March 1st 2008, 02:11 AM #1

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- March 1st 2008, 02:42 AM #2

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First there is no guarantee that there are any real solutions to . In fact if it is obvious that there are no real solutions.

If , then put and the equation becomes:

which we can rearrange to:

and this has solution:

or equivalently:

where is Lambert's W function.

(If we are not concerned with real solutions then the above works period, though you have to keep an eye on the multiple values of the W function)

RonL

- March 1st 2008, 03:13 AM #3

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To demonstrate this working see this:

Code:This is EULER, Version 2.3 RL-06. Type help(Return) for help. Enter command: (16777216 Bytes free.) Processing configuration file. Done. >load "C:\Program Files\EulerRL\Euler Utils\LambertW.e"; > >a=0.1; >x=-LambertW(-log(a))/log(a) 0.399013 > > > >a^x-x 5.55112e-017 >

- March 1st 2008, 04:26 AM #4
Some replies do not deserve an unthanked fate. For my money, the above two are in that class. Hence the pre-emptive safe-guard.

(Would've added rep but apparently I've got to spread a bit more first).

And this thread is certainly as good as any to direct the interested reader to the following references:

http://www.cs.uwaterloo.ca/research/tr/1993/03/W.pdf

New analytic solution to classic problem?

- March 2nd 2008, 12:37 AM #5

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