Exercise 1.45: We saw in 1.3.3 that attempting to compute square roots by naively finding a fixed point of y↦x/y does not converge, and that this can be fixed by average damping. The same method works for finding cube roots as fixed points of the average-damped yx/y2y↦x/y^2. Unfortunately, the process does not work for fourth roots—a single average damp is not enough to make a fixed-point search for yx/y3 y↦x/y^3 converge. On the other hand, if we average damp twice (i.e., use the average damp of the average damp of yx/y3y↦x/y^3) the fixed-point search does converge. Do some experiments to determine how many average damps are required to compute nth roots as a fixed-point search based upon repeated average damping of yx/yn1y↦x/y^{n−1}. Use this to implement a simple procedure for computing nth roots using fixed-point, average-damp, and the repeated procedure of Exercise 1.43. Assume that any arithmetic operations you need are available as primitives.

Reusable Procedures


(define tolerance 0.00001)

(define (fixed-point f first-guess)
  (define (close-enough? v1 v2)
    (< (abs (- v1 v2)) 
  (define (try guess)
    (let ((next (f guess)))
      (if (close-enough? guess next)
          (try next))))
  (try first-guess))


(define (average x y) (/ (+ x y) 2))

(define (average-damp f)
  (lambda (x) 
    (average x (f x))))


(define (compose f g)
    (lambda (x) (f (g x))))

(define (square x) (* x x))

(define (repeated op n) (if (= n 0) (lambda (x) x)
                          (compose op (repeated op (- n 1)))))

((repeated square 2) 5)


(define (pow x n) (if (= n 0) 1 (* x (pow x (- n 1)))))
(define (n-th-root x n) (fixed-point (average-damp (lambda (y) (/ x (pow y (- n 1))))) 1))

(n-th-root 9 2)

Given The above implementation,

(n-th-root 16 4) will make the page NOT responding!
repeated average-damp twice will make (n-th-root 16 4) work
(define (pow x n) (if (= n 0) 1 (* x (pow x (- n 1)))))
(define (n-th-root x n) (fixed-point ((repeated average-damp 2) (lambda (y) (/ x (pow y (- n 1))))) 1))

(n-th-root 16 4)

The above implementation will make (n-th-root 666 8) freeze the page!

Guess that repeated average-damp n/2 times will make (n-th-root x n) work
(define (pow x n) (if (= n 0) 1 (* x (pow x (- n 1)))))
(define (n-th-root x n) (fixed-point ((repeated average-damp (floor (/ n 2))) (lambda (y) (/ x (pow y (- n 1))))) 1))

(n-th-root 666 8)

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