This is documentation for Mathematica 8, which was
based on an earlier version of the Wolfram Language.
 MATHEMATICA TUTORIAL

The Padé approximation is a rational function that can be thought of as a generalization of a Taylor polynomial. A rational function is the ratio of polynomials. Because these functions only use the elementary arithmetic operations, they are very easy to evaluate numerically. The polynomial in the denominator allows you to approximate functions that have rational singularities.

More precisely, a Padé approximation of order to an analytic function at a regular point or pole is the rational function where is a polynomial of degree , is a polynomial of degree , and the formal power series of about the point begins with the term . If is equal to , the approximation is called a diagonal Padé approximation of order .
Here is the Padé approximation of order to at .
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This gives another Padé approximation of the same order.
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The initial terms of this series vanish. This is the property that characterizes the Padé approximation.
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This plots the difference between the approximation and the true function. Notice that the approximation is very good near the center of expansion, but the error increases rapidly as you move away.
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