closed form
A closed form function which gives the value of a sequence^{} at index $n$ has only one parameter, $n$ itself. This is in contrast to the recurrence relation form, which can have all of the previous values of the sequence as parameters.
The benefit of the closed form is that one does not have to calculate all of the previous values of the sequence to get the next value. This is not too useful if one wants to print out or utilize all of the values of a sequence up to some $n$, but it is very useful to get the value of the sequence just at some index $n$.
There are many techniques used to find a closedform solution for a recurrence relation. Some are

•
Repeated substitution. Replace each ${s}_{k}$ in the expression of ${s}_{n}$ (with $$) with its recurrence relation representation. Repeat again on the resulting expression, until some pattern is evident.

•
Estimate an upper bound for ${s}_{n}$ in terms of $n$. Then, solve for the unknowns (say there are $r$ unknowns) by finding the first $r$ values of the recurrence relation and solving the linear system formed by them and the unknowns.

•
Find the characteristic equation^{} of the recurrence relation and solve for the roots. If the recurrence relation is not homogeneous^{}, then you’ll have to apply a method such as the method of undetermined coefficients.
Title  closed form 

Canonical name  ClosedForm 
Date of creation  20130322 11:56:10 
Last modified on  20130322 11:56:10 
Owner  akrowne (2) 
Last modified by  akrowne (2) 
Numerical id  8 
Author  akrowne (2) 
Entry type  Definition 
Classification  msc 11B99 
Synonym  closedform 
Related topic  ExpressibleInClosedForm 