Continued Fraction Constants

A number of closed-form constants can be obtained for generalized continued fractions having particularly simple partial numerators and denominators.

The Ramanujan continued fractions provide a fascinating class of continued fraction constants. The Trott constants are unexpected constants whose partial numerators and denominators correspond to their decimal digits (though to achieve this, it is necessary to allow some partial numerators to equal 0).

The first in a series of other famous continued fraction constants is the infinite regular continued fraction


The first few convergents A_n/B_n of the constant are 0, 1, 2/3, 7/10, 30/43, 157/225, 972/1393, 6961/9976, ... (OEIS A001053 and A001040).

Both numerator A_n and denominator B_n satisfy the recurrence relation


where A_n has the initial conditions A_1=0, A_2=1 and B_n has the initial conditions B_0=0, B_1=1. These can be solved exactly to yield


where I_n(x) is a modified Bessel function of the first kind and K_n(x) is a modified Bessel function of the second kind. Therefore, as n->infty, the infinite continued fraction is given by


(OEIS A052119; Lehmer 1973, Rabinowitz 1990; Borwein et al. 2004, p. 35).

The related constant defined by the generalized continued fraction


has nth convergent is given by


where Gamma(n) is the gamma function and !n is the subfactorial. The first few convergents A_n/B_n are therefore 1, 1/2, 3/5, 11/19, 53/91, 103/177, ... (OEIS A053557 and A103816). As n->infty, this gives the value


(OEIS A073333).

Another similar continued fraction constant that can be computed in closed form is


(OEIS A111129), where erfc is the complementary error function. No closed form is known for the convergents, but for n=1, 2, ..., the first few convergents are 1, 1/3, 2/3, 4/9, 7/12, 19/39, 68/123, ... (OEIS A225435 and A225436).

Another closed-form continued fraction is given by


(OEIS A113011). The first few convergents are 5/3, 29/19, 233/151, 2329/1511, 27949/18131, 78257/50767, ... (OEIS A113012 and A113013).

The general infinite continued fraction [b_0;b_1,b_2...] with partial quotients that are in arithmetic progression is given by


(Schroeppel 1972) for real A and D!=0.

Perron (1954-57) discusses continued fractions having terms even more general than the arithmetic progression and relates them to various special functions. He does not, however, appear to specifically consider equation (24).

See also

Continued Fraction, e, Generalized Continued Fraction, Golden Ratio, Modified Bessel Function of the First Kind, Modified Bessel Function of the Second Kind, Nested Radical Constant, Pi, Rabbit Constant, Ramanujan Continued Fractions, Thue-Morse Constant, Trott Constants

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Borwein, J.; Bailey, D.; and Girgensohn, R. Experimentation in Mathematics: Computational Paths to Discovery. Wellesley, MA: A K Peters, pp. 34-35, 2004.Finch, S. R. "Euler-Gompertz Constant." §6.2 in Mathematical Constants. Cambridge, England: Cambridge University Press, pp. 423-428, 2003.Guy, R. K. "Review: The Mathematics of Plato's Academy." Amer. Math. Monthly 97, 440-443, 1990.Lehmer, D. H. "Continued Fractions Containing Arithmetic Progressions." Scripta Math. 29, 17-24, 1973.Perron, O. Die Lehre von den Kettenbrüchen, 3. verb. und erweiterte Aufl. Stuttgart, Germany: Teubner, 1954-57.Rabinowitz, S. Problem E3264. "Asymptotic Estimates from Convergents of a Continued Fraction." Amer. Math. Monthly 97, 157-159, 1990.Schroeppel, R. Item 99 in Beeler, M.; Gosper, R. W.; and Schroeppel, R. HAKMEM. Cambridge, MA: MIT Artificial Intelligence Laboratory, Memo AIM-239, p. 36, Feb. 1972., N. J. A. Sequences A001040/M2863, A001053/M1783, A052119, A053557, A073333, A103816, A111129, A113011, A113012, A113013, A225435, and A2225436 in "The On-Line Encyclopedia of Integer Sequences."

Cite this as:

Weisstein, Eric W. "Continued Fraction Constants." From MathWorld--A Wolfram Web Resource.

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