Complex numbers in desmos

Hello, My name is Ryan and I use desmos frequently in my classroom. I was wondering if there is any way to place imaginary numbers or complex numbers into desmos like you can with the TI calculators when you change the mode from real to a + bi? If so this would be very helpful for those students who do not have calculators of their own to work at home on our remote days or for homework.

Hi Ryan, as best as I can tell, Desmos does not currently support complex numbers but has received some requests to add support for them (e.g. this tweet). You’re definitely welcome to re-request this feature so it gets more attention!

You can make Desmos activities that handle specific uses for complex numbers - it would be quick to make an activity that adds complex numbers, for example - or to avoid reinventing the wheel you can direct your students to other online resources like Symbolab or WolframAlpha.

The idea of using Desmos to create a complex number calculator tickled my fancy, so here’s a prototype:

I’m sharing this mostly as a curiosity - if I were sharing a resource for my students, I’d share one (like one linked above) that’s better than this :slight_smile:

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In Desmos, you can represent complex numbers using the standard mathematical notation, where i represent the imaginary unit such as to represent the complex number 3+2i you would write it as 3+2i

Cool cool cool!

When I type 3+2i, Desmos wants to add a slider for i.

What am I missing?

Hey Steve! I’m assuming your response is to Mateo’s post, and you entered 3+2i in an otherwise empty expression list. My understanding is still what I posted before, that Desmos does not have built-in support for complex numbers. I’m not sure what Mateo is referring to.

Thanks. You have totally harshed my mellow.

I’ve been trying to read your code, and it’s pretty wild. It looks like a sixth-order frequency approximation. I’m thinking about doing it directly.

Wild is a good word for it haha. I hadn’t cracked that open for quite a while - it looks like I was handling f(i) that were polynomials in i, and I was extracting up to 12 coefficients of f(i) via derivatives. Then I added and subtracted all the coefficients to simplify it down to a + bi. I remember thinking there must be a better way, and I’m eager to see whatever you come up with!

I’m afraid you may be disappointed. While I’d like a complex package, I got away with much less for a specific purpose. I wrote a visualization of a geometric proof of the fundamental theorem of algebra that a dth degree polynomial over the complex plane has d roots.

(there is clearly a bug …)

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