In mathematics, and more specifically in analysis, a holonomic function is a smooth function of several variables that is a solution of a system of linear homogeneous differential equations with polynomial coefficients and satisfies a suitable dimension condition in terms of D-modules theory. More precisely, a holonomic function is an element of a holonomic module of smooth functions. Holonomic functions can also be described as differentiably finite functions, also known as D-finite functions. When a power series in the variables is the Taylor expansion of a holonomic function, the sequence of its coefficients, in one or several indices, is also called holonomic. Holonomic sequences are also called P-recursive sequences: they are defined recursively by multivariate recurrences satisfied by the whole sequence and by suitable specializations of it. The situation simplifies in the univariate case: any univariate sequence that satisfies a linear homogeneous recurrence relation with polynomial coefficients, or equivalently a linear homogeneous difference equation with polynomial coefficients, is holonomic.
Holonomic functions (or sequences) satisfy several closure properties. In particular, holonomic functions (or sequences) form a ring. They are not closed under division, however, and therefore do not form a field.
The class of holonomic functions is a strict superset of the class of hypergeometric functions. Examples of special functions that are holonomic but not hypergeometric include the Heun functions.
Holonomic functions are a powerful tool in computer algebra. A holonomic function or sequence can be represented by a finite amount of data, namely an annihilating operator and a finite set of initial values, and the closure properties allow carrying out operations such as equality testing, summation and integration in an algorithmic fashion. In recent years, these techniques have allowed giving automated proofs of a large number of special function and combinatorial identities.
Moreover, there exist fast algorithms for evaluating holonomic functions to arbitrary precision at any point in the complex plane, and for numerically computing any entry in a holonomic sequence.
, an online software, based on holonomic functions for automatically studying many classical and special functions (evaluation at a point, Taylor series and asymptotic expansion to any user-given precision, differential equation, recurrence for the coefficients of the Taylor series, derivative, indefinite integral, plotting, ...)