Euler-MacLaurin formula

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A summation formula that connects the partial sums of a series with the integral and derivatives of its general term:

where are the Bernoulli numbers and is the remainder. Using the Bernoulli polynomials , , the remainder can be rewritten in the form

For the remainder can be expressed by means of the Bernoulli numbers:

If the derivatives and have the same sign and do not change sign on , then

If, furthermore,

then the Euler–MacLaurin formula becomes

This version is used, for example, to derive the Stirling formula, in which case and is the Euler constant. The formula has also been generalized to multiple sums.

The Euler–MacLaurin formula finds application in the approximate calculation of definite integrals, the study of convergence of series, the computation of sums, and the expansion of functions in Taylor series. For example, for , , , and , it yields the expression

The Euler–MacLaurin formula plays an important role in the study of asymptotic expansions, number-theoretic estimates and finite-difference calculus.

Sometimes the Euler–MacLaurin formula is applied in the form

The formula was first obtained by L. Euler [1] as

where is the sum of the first terms of the series with general term , for , and the coefficients are determined from the recurrence relations

The formula was later discovered independently by C. MacLaurin [2].


[1] L. Euler, Comment. Acad. Sci. Imp. Petrop. , 6 (1738) pp. 68–97
[2] C. MacLaurin, "A treatise of fluxions" , 1–2 , Edinburgh (1742)
[3] G.H. Hardy, "Divergent series" , Clarendon Press (1949)
[4] N.E. Nörlund, "Volesungen über Differenzenrechnung" , Springer (1924)
[5] A.O. [A.O. Gel'fond] Gelfond, "Differenzenrechnung" , Deutsch. Verlag Wissenschaft. (1958) (Translated from Russian)


The use of the Euler–MacLaurin sum formula in numerical quadrature is discussed in [a1] and [a2]. By replacing the various derivatives by finite differences the quadrature rules of Bessel, Gauss and Gregory are obtained.


[a1] F.B. Hildebrand, "Introduction to numerical analysis" , McGraw-Hill (1974)
[a2] J.F. Steffensen, "Interpolation" , Chelsea, reprint (1950)
How to Cite This Entry:
Euler-MacLaurin formula. Encyclopedia of Mathematics. URL:
This article was adapted from an original article by Yu.N. Subbotin (originator), which appeared in Encyclopedia of Mathematics - ISBN 1402006098. See original article