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# how do I calculate the value of second derivative at a point using python?

### 2 Answers

- husoskiLv 72 months ago
I assume you want to estimate the derivative numerically. You can use the three equally spaced values f(x-h), f(x), f(x+h) for some small value of h>0 to get a value that's usually close enough.

The usual definition of the derivative is the limit:

f'(a) = lim h-->0 [f(a + h) - f(a)] / h

Another limit that works, provided that f'(x) exists at and near x=a, is the symmetrical limit:

f'(a) = lim h-->0 [f(a + h/2) - f(a - h/2)] / h

Use that to find a formula for f''(x) at x=a:

f''(a) ~~ [f'(a + h/2) - f'(a - h/2)] / h

Use the same formula to find that:

f'(a + h/2) ~~ [f((a + h/2) + h/2) - f((a + h/2) - h/2)] / h

= [f(a + h) - f(a)] / h

f'(a - h/2) ~~ [f((a - h/2) + h/2) - f((a - h/2) - h/2)] / h

= [f(a) - f(a - h)] / h

Plug those two into the estimate for f''(a) above to get:

f''(a) ~~ [[f(a + h) - f(a)]/h - [f(a) - f(a - h)]/h] /h

= [f(a + h) - 2*f(a) + f(a - h)] / h²

That's the math. Converting that to Python is pretty easy:

h = 1e-6

fpp_at_a = (f(a + h) + f(a - h) - 2*f(a)) / h**2 # f''(a) estimate