     Home Search   What's New Index Books Links Q & A Newsletter Banners   Feedback Tip Jar      MSDN Visual Basic Community  Title Use Newton's method to find the roots of an equation in Visual Basic 6 This example shows how to use Newton's method to find the roots of an equation in Visual Basic 6. Newton's method, equation, root, zero Algorithms, Graphics

Newton's method calculates the roots of equations. In other words, it finds the values of X for which F(X) = 0.

This program graphs the equation X^3/3 - 2*X + 5. When you click on the graph, it uses Newton's method to find a root of the equation, starting from the X value that you clicked.

```' The function.
Private Function F(ByVal X As Double) As Single
F = X * X * X / 3 - 2 * X * X + 5
End Function

' Draw the background graph.
Private Sub DrawGraph()
Const STEP_SIZE As Single = 0.1
Dim X As Single
Dim Y As Single
Dim y1 As Single
Dim y2 As Single

Me.Cls

' Draw the axes.
For X = -10 To 10
Me.Line (X, -0.5)-Step(0, 1), vbBlue
Next X
For Y = -10 To 10
Me.Line (-0.5, Y)-Step(1, 0), vbBlue
Next Y
Me.Line (-10, 0)-Step(20, 0), vbBlue
Me.Line (0, -10)-Step(0, 20), vbBlue

' Draw the curve.
y2 = F(-10)
For X = -10 + STEP_SIZE To 10 Step STEP_SIZE
y1 = y2
y2 = F(X)
Me.Line (X - STEP_SIZE, y1)-(X, y2), vbRed
Next X
End Sub```

The way Newton's method works is it starts from an initial guess X0 (given by the point you clicked). It then estimates the difference between that value and root:

`    epsilon = -F(x) / dFdx(x)`

The method then sets its next guess for x to be the current value plus epsilon (X(n+1) = X(n) + epsilon). It repeats this process until epsilon is smaller than some cutoff value.

```' The function's derivative.
Private Function dFdx(ByVal X As Double) As Single
dFdx = X * X - 4 * X
End Function

' Find the roots by using Newton's method.
Private Sub Form_MouseDown(Button As Integer, Shift As _
Integer, X As Single,
Y As Single)
Const CUTOFF As Single = 0.0000001
Dim epsilon As Single
Dim iterations As Integer
Dim x0 As Single

' Clear previous results.
DrawGraph

x0 = X
iterations = 0
Do
iterations = iterations + 1
Me.Line (x0, -1.5)-Step(0, 3)
epsilon = -F(x0) / dFdx(x0)
x0 = x0 + epsilon
Loop While Abs(epsilon) > CUTOFF
Me.Line (x0, -3)-Step(0, 6)

Me.Caption = x0 & " +/-" & epsilon & " in " & _
iterations & " iterations"
End Sub```

Newton's method uses the function's derivative to make its next X value guess. If the curve is relatively flat for the current value of X, then the derivative (which is the slope of the function) gives a value far away from the current one and the method is unstable. In this example, try clicking on a point where X is at or near 0 and see what happens.

For more information on Newton's method, see Eric W. Weisstein's article Newton's Method from MathWorld--A Wolfram Web Resource.  Copyright © 1997-2010 Rocky Mountain Computer Consulting, Inc.   All rights reserved.  Updated 