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In mathematics, in the area of complex analysis, the general difference polynomials are a polynomial sequence, a certain subclass of the Sheffer polynomials, which include the Newton polynomials, Selberg's polynomials, and the Stirling interpolation polynomials as special cases.
The general difference polynomial sequence is given by
where is the binomial coefficient. For , the generated polynomials are the Newton polynomials
The case of generates Selberg's polynomials, and the case of generates Stirling's interpolation polynomials.
Given an analytic function , define the moving difference of f as
where is the forward difference operator. Then, provided that f obeys certain summability conditions, then it may be represented in terms of these polynomials as
The conditions for summability (that is, convergence) for this sequence is a fairly complex topic; in general, one may say that a necessary condition is that the analytic function be of less than exponential type. Summability conditions are discussed in detail in Boas & Buck.
The generating function for the general difference polynomials is given by
This generating function can be brought into the form of the generalized Appell representation
by setting , , and .