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Two ways of integrating x↦xⁿsin(x) give contradictory results. Bug?

asked 2017-01-04 14:44:16 -0500

anonymous user


updated 2017-01-04 20:03:50 -0500

tmonteil gravatar image

First way:


gives just

integrate(x^n*sin(x), x)

not very informative, let us try to add an assumption to get nicer results.

Second way:



1/4*(((-1)^n - 1)*gamma(n + 1, I*x) - ((-1)^n - 1)*gamma(n + 1, -I*x))*(-1)^(-1/2*n)

Uhm, looks better, but... wait, isn't (-1)^n-1 equal to 0 for even values of n ? That would make the whole thing equal to 0 for even n.

I = integral(x^n*sin(x),x)
for k in range(10):
    print I.subs(n==2*k)

prints only 0s. Weird, non-zero functions should not have zero integrals.

Third way :

Let us try to do the integration with particular values of n.

for n in range(5):
    print integral(x^n*sin(x),x)


-x*cos(x) + sin(x)
-(x^2 - 2)*cos(x) + 2*x*sin(x)
-(x^3 - 6*x)*cos(x) + 3*(x^2 - 2)*sin(x)

Looks better, but is clearly different from the previous answer.


I am working on the cloud, with SageMath 7.4 kernel. Is this a bug or did I misunderstood the meaning of the 'integer'assumption ?

If this is a bug, how should I report it, is posting this question here enough ?

P.S. I did read the wiki page about reporting bugs, but, gosh, is it really necessary to have a google account in order to report a bug ? Both sage-devel and sage-support are on Google Groups.

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2 answers

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answered 2017-01-04 16:56:40 -0500

The default algorithm for integration is Maxima, and it is known to have issues with the branches of exponential integrals: here's one Trac ticket with a related integration error. I've opened a new ticket for this error.

As pointed out by @mforets, you can use Sympy to get an answer valid for any n without the assumption:


Here's a live example of the resulting hypergeometric function.

And in answer to your final question, reporting the bug here is sufficient. Thanks!

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answered 2017-01-04 16:18:02 -0500

mforets gravatar image

updated 2017-01-04 17:41:53 -0500

You can get an expression for the indefinite integral in terms of hypergeometric functions with the additional argument algorithm='sympy'. It seems to me, as you point out, that algorithm='maxima' (default, I guess) gives a wrong answer for even $n$.

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Asked: 2017-01-04 14:44:16 -0500

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Last updated: Jan 04