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Posted 3 Apr 2022


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A Polynomials Math Parser in VB.NET

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4 May 2022MIT3 min read
Polynomials Math Parser and Evaluator in VB.NET
The code includes five classes in order to evaluate a string of a real, complex or polynomial math expression, perhaps reducing the expression to one real or complex number or an equivalent polynomial. The math expression may or may not include variables.

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In many situations, there may be a string containing a math expression, such as "1+2*5", "(3+i)(3-i)" or "(z^2*w+4z^3w-w^2-4z*w^2)/(w+4z*w)", and there is the need to do the math and calculate the result. Maybe we need to calculate the result for different variables values and the result can be another polynomial. In those cases, the polynomials' parser presented here may help.


The classes here are a small part -but improved- of my all free and downloadable CAS calculator. One of the goals is that these classes do not rely on other 'external' classes as happens in the CAS calculator.

The Seven Classes

  • Class 'Msg10' just contains a few messages to handle possible errors.

  • Class 'G10' holds global members like Regex patterns.
  • Class 'Rational' gives a bit more of accuracy in the operations.

  • Class 'Complex' does the complex math.

  • Class 'Polynomial' operates polynomials.

  • Class 'Roots' finds polynomials' roots and factors.
  • Class 'parsePolynomial' is in charge of dividing the input string into tokens and call accordingly to RootsPolynomial or Msg10 classes. Roots depends on Polynomial class which, in turn, depends on Complex and Complex on Rational. The 'tokenizing' job is done by a Regex pattern.


The tokens groups are:

numbers <num>
operators <op>
logical operators <lop>
functions <fn>
functions <vfn> functions retreiving a complex or polynomial array
constants <cnt>
variables <var>
any other character <any>
besides end of tokens <end> formed by an escape character Chr(27).

The pattern looks like:


The trailing '(?![a-zA-Z_]+)' in, for example, <cnt> allows to use variables like 'epsilon' or 'cosA' without interfering with constants, logical operators and functions.

Function roots returns an array of complex numbers containg the roots of the input polynomial. Function factor returns an array of the input polynomial's factors. The input can also be in the form (numerator polynomial)/(denominator polynomial)

Using the Code

The are two possible ways of instantiation:

Dim eP As New ParsePolynomial
eP.CultureInfo = New Globalization.CultureInfo("fr-FR")
Dim eP As New ParsePolynomial(New Globalization.CultureInfo("es-AR"))

By default, CultureInfo is set to "en-US".

Evaluation is done by calling one of the two Evaluate() methods.

First method:

'// argument is a string:
Dim poly As Polynomial = eP.Evaluate("(x-1)*(x+1)")

First method with variables, set in a Dictionary(Of String, Polynomial):

 Dim eP As New ParsePolynomial
 eP.vars.Add("x", New Polynomial(
 Dim polyA As New Polynomial("a", 2) '// 'a' variable, 2 exponent (a^2)
 polyA += New Polynomial(-1.0) ' // a ^ 2 - 1
 eP.vars.Add("y", polyA)
'// argument is a string:
Dim cplx As Complex = eP.Evaluate("x*(y-i*5)")

Once the string has been parsed, it is possible to call the overloaded second method:

 '// change "x" value (change any variable value):
  eP.vars.Item("x") = New Polynomial(3)
 '// argument is the Dictionary(Of String, Polynomial):
 Dim polyC As Polynomial = eP.Evaluate(eP.vars)

Variables names start with a letter or underscore (_), can contain letters, numbers or underscore and can be any length.

Of course, you may call directly to the Polynomial class, if you don't need the parser.

The Output

The output can be just one Polynomial, a Complex() array , or Polynomial() array :

    Dim t1 As Int64 = Now.Ticks
    Dim p As Polynomial = eP.Evaluate(TBExpression.Text)
    Dim t2 As New TimeSpan(Now.Ticks - t1)
    If eP.vPoly.Length Then ' Response is an array of Polynomials ?
        Dim s1 As String = ""
        For i As Int32 = 0 To eP.vPoly.Length - 1
            If eP.vPoly(i) IsNot Nothing Then
                s1 += eP.vPoly(i).ToStringPolynomial(eP.Decimals, eP.Imaginary, eP.CultureInfo) + "</br>"
                s1 += "-------------------</br>"
            End If
        NavigateToString(s1) ' Show in Webbrowser1
    ElseIf eP.vRoots.Length Then  ' Response is an array of Complex ?
        Dim s1 As String = ""
        For i As Int32 = 0 To eP.vRoots.Length - 1
            s1 += eP.vRoots(i).ToStringComplex(eP.Decimals, eP.Imaginary, eP.CultureInfo) + "</br>"
        NavigateToString(s1) ' Show in Webbrowser1
    Else  ' Response is a Polynomial
        NavigateToString(p.ToStringPolynomial(eP.Decimals, eP.Imaginary, eP.CultureInfo))
    End If

When calling eP.Evaluate("factor(numerator)/(denominator)") the return will be in  eP.vPoly() and a null element will separate factors from the numerator and the denominator.

You may call Polynomial.ToString() or ToStringPolynomial(Optional numDecimals As Int32 = 15, Optional sImg As String = "i", Optional cultureInfo As Globalization.CultureInfo = Nothing) As String:

polyC.ToStringPolynomial(4, eP.Imaginary, eP.CultureInfo)

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Detail Version

The detail version will show operation steps by prepending the word 'detail'.

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Basic Principles

The parsing method is a recursive-descent parsing: Parsing Expressions by Recursive Descent.

Evaluation method E calls T for any addition or subtraction, but T calls first F for any multiplication or subtraction, and F calls first P for any power possible power operation. P calls first v to get next token. If there is a "(" token, v calls recursively to T.

E --> T {( "+" | "-" ) T}
T --> F {( "*" | "/" ) F}
F --> P ["^" F]
P --> v | "(" E ")" | "-" T

Step by Step Walk-throughs

Algorithm presented here englobes T and F in a single method. Besides, method v operates any possible function like cos(), csc(), mod and so on.

While writing this article, I found some glitches. If you find any further error, please let me know.


  • 3rd April, 2022: Initial version


This article, along with any associated source code and files, is licensed under The MIT License


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Comments and Discussions

Questionabout UI Pin
Member 153145917-Apr-22 4:38
MemberMember 153145917-Apr-22 4:38 
AnswerRe: about UI Pin
Xavier Junqué i de Fortuny7-Apr-22 5:38
MemberXavier Junqué i de Fortuny7-Apr-22 5:38 
Suggestionfactorise instead Pin
Horia Tudosie 20216-Apr-22 9:05
MemberHoria Tudosie 20216-Apr-22 9:05 
GeneralRe: factorise instead Pin
Xavier Junqué i de Fortuny6-Apr-22 23:53
MemberXavier Junqué i de Fortuny6-Apr-22 23:53 
Praisemy vote of 5 Pin
didicool24-Apr-22 19:41
Memberdidicool24-Apr-22 19:41 
GeneralRe: my vote of 5 Pin
Xavier Junqué i de Fortuny5-Apr-22 0:24
MemberXavier Junqué i de Fortuny5-Apr-22 0:24 
Praisemy vote of 5 Pin
Southmountain3-Apr-22 5:58
MemberSouthmountain3-Apr-22 5:58 
GeneralRe: my vote of 5 Pin
Xavier Junqué i de Fortuny4-Apr-22 3:14
MemberXavier Junqué i de Fortuny4-Apr-22 3:14 

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