NotesFAQContact Us
Search Tips
Peer reviewed Peer reviewed
Direct linkDirect link
ERIC Number: EJ875525
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2007
Pages: 10
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 0
ISSN: ISSN-0740-8404
How to Compute the Partial Fraction Decomposition without Really Trying
Brazier, Richard; Boman, Eugene
AMATYC Review, v29 n1 p20-29 Fall 2007
For various reasons there has been a recent trend in college and high school calculus courses to de-emphasize teaching the Partial Fraction Decomposition (PFD) as an integration technique. This is regrettable because the Partial Fraction Decomposition is considerably more than an integration technique. It is, in fact, a general purpose tool which crops up naturally in a wide range of applications. The techniques for computing the Partial Fraction Decomposition are numerous to say the least and tend to fall into two categories, general methods which will work for any decomposition and specialized methods which work only for special cases. Unfortunately, the general techniques are often cumbersome and tend to make relatively simple decompositions seem complex, and the specialized techniques, while often very easy to use, tend to proliferate to the point of chaos because there is a lot of variation in the kinds of decompositions that occur. We present an algorithm for computing the Partial Fraction Decomposition that is based on Heaviside's "cover-up" method-possibly the simplest of the known specialized techniques. The "cover-up" method is extended to a general technique which can be used for any decomposition. Our algorithm is simple to use and teach and is usually more efficient than other known algorithms, specialized or general.
American Mathematical Association of Two-Year Colleges. 5983 Macon Cove, Memphis, TN 38134. Tel: 901-333-4643; Fax: 901-333-4651; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: Postsecondary Education; Two Year Colleges
Audience: Teachers
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A