# A Brief Introduction To Romberg Integration

This blog briefly describes a remarkable integration algorithm, called "Romberg integration." The algorithm is used in the field of numerical analysis but it's not so well-known in the world of DSP.

To show the power of Romberg integration, and to convince you to continue reading, consider the notion of estimating the area under the continuous*x*(

*t*) = sin(

*t*) curve based on the five

*x*(

*n*) samples represented by the dots in Figure 1.

The results of performing a Trapezoidal Rule, a Simpson's 1/3 Rule, and a Romberg integration using Figure 1's five *x*(*n*) samples are given in Table 1. There we see the profound reduction in integration error afforded by Romberg integration.

To achieve Table 1's low 0.0038% Romberg error a Trapezoidal Rule integration would require 100 *x*(*n*) samples rather than just the five *x*(*n*) samples in Figure 1. To learn more about Romberg integration please read on.

__Romberg Integration__

Romberg integration is a process used to compute finite integrals requiring *very* high accuracy (super‑low error). This integration process, first proposed by Werner Romberg in 1955, is remarkable because it employs a series smaller‑sized less‑accurate integral approximations, typically obtained using the Trapezoidal Rule integration method, to compute a much more accurate final definite integral approximation [1-3].

The 'TRI' notation in Figure 2 means Trapezoidal Rule integration and the ↓*k* symbol represents downsampling by integer *k*. We see in Figure 2 that separate four-segment, three-segment, and two-segment Trapezoidal Rule integrations are performed.

Figure 2 is called an "*N* = 4-segment Romberg integration" because five input *x*(*n*) samples enables the total integrated area to be divided into N = 4 smaller area segments as shown by the bottom integration in Figure 2. As it turns out, log_{2}(*N*)+1 individual trapezoidal integration operations are required for a single *N*-segment Romberg integration process.

*N*= 4-segment Romberg integration is given in Figure 3.

If we had nine *x*(*n*) signal samples of Figure 1's continuous *x*(*t*) signal, between *t* = 0 and *t* = 2 seconds, we could perform the *N* = 8‑segment Romberg integration shown in Figure 4. In that case our computed integral value is 1.4161469 having a percent error of 6x10^{‑6}%.

*N*= 8-segment Romberg integration is given in Figure 5.

__An N = 16 Integration Example__

*N*= 16‑segment (17 signal samples) estimated definite integral of the continuous

*x*(

*t*), over the time range of 0 ≤

*t*≤ p, defined by:

shown in Figure 6.

The Figure 6 estimated integral results are given in Table 2. There we see the improved accuracy, for this particular *x*(*n*) sequence, of our Romberg integration. To achieve Table 2's 3.6x10^{-4}% Romberg error a Trapezoidal Rule integration would require 680 *x***( n) samples** rather than just the 16

*x*(

*n*) samples in Figure 6.

To keep this blog from being too lengthy I conclude my discussion here. If Romberg integration interests you, the following additional information

is available in this → downloadable PDF file:

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Neat! I'll have to add to my mental toolbox.

The DSP applications may be not-well known because they are limited; use of Romberg integration makes sense for analytical functions whose derivatives are continuous, but for numerical data containing noise, the higher-order integrator methods aren't going to add any accuracy compared to a trapezoidal integration.

Hi jms_nh.

You are correct. Using 8-segment or 16-segment Romberg integration is useful so long as the input signal's derivative is continuous and only changes polarity once. Romberg integration is not particularly effective for input waveforms like the following:

If I had to integrate the above waveform I'd explore the idea of breaking the above waveform into three separate (smaller) waveforms where each smaller waveform contained no discontinuity.

jms_nh, I confess, I was lazy! I did not study/compare the performance of Trapezoidal Rule, Simpson's 1/3 Rule, or Romberg integration when the input signal was contaminated with noise.

I ran a quick script to test the noise idea out. For very low noise, Romberg works better, but there's a crossover point of performance, where the TRI method works better than Romberg. For the example of a sinewave from t= 0 -> 2, with 5 points, it was about sigma=0.07.

Excellent article, Rick

A Romberg Integration function is also available in the R programming language.

Hi woodpecker.

Thanks for the R language link!

Very interesting article Rick... Thanks!

It looks like Romberg integration uses Richardson Extrapolation, which can also be used to estimate rate of convergence when the true value isn't known a priori. Running through that would make a great follow up blog post!

Thanks Rick,

I found something similar of interest which uses interpolation algorithm based on the Sampling theorem

INTEGRATION OF SAMPLED SIGNALS S J C Dyne and J K Hammond

IEEEXplore Link : https://ieeexplore.ieee.org/stamp/stamp.jsp?tp=&ar...

Hi kvengatt. Thanks for the link. Unfortunately I don't qualify to view that "integration" paper.

Am not sure if i can upload this paper as its copyrights are owned by IEEE. Is there a clean way of sharing it ? Kindly let me know

Hi kvengatt. You're being honorable. Good for you. I used to be an Associate Editor for the IEEE Signal Processing Magazine and as far as I know only the authors of a published paper are permitted to distribute copies of their published paper.

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