This package provides an interface to the software PHCpack, a generalpurpose polynomial system solver that uses homotopy continuation. The main method is a numerical blackbox solver, implemented for Laurent systems. The package also provides a fast mixed volume computation, the ability to filter solutions, extract real solutions, or track solution paths defined by a polynomial homotopy. For positive dimensional solution sets, we can compute a numerical irreducible decomposition.
The software PHCpack itself is available at http://www.math.uic.edu/~jan/download.html. This site provides source code and its executable version phc. To use the methods from this package, the user must have the executable program phc available, preferably in the execution path. The functions in this package call the phc executable, behind the scenes, with appropriate input options, and save intermediate output to temporary files. For convenience, the file names are displayed, and the commands that are invoked are documented under "Consequences" for each function.
Below is a simple example using the most popular function, the numerical blackbox solver.





We see that there are three solutions to the above system. Each solution is of type Point and contains diagnostic information about the quality of the solution.


The value of LastT is the end value of the continuation parameter: if it equals 1, then the solver reached the end of the path properly.
1. If you are having trouble installing the package, check whether the path to your PHCpack executable was set correctly. You can check this by typing the following command:
options PHCpack
If it is wrong, you can update it by putting the absolute path into the initPHCpack.m2 file, For example, if the executable phc is located in C:/cygwin/PHC, then the line inside the initPHCpack.m2 file will look like this:
"path" => "C:/cygwin/PHC/" .
Alternately, the path could be set when loading the package using the following command:
loadPackage ("PHCpack", Configuration=>{"path"=>"C:/cygwin/PHC/","PHCexe"=>"./phc"})
2. If the package SimpleDoc is not found when installing PHCpack.m2, see questions and answers 6, 7, and 8 on the Macaulay2 web site.
3. The current version 1.8 of PHCpack.m2 was developed with version 1.9 of Macaulay2 and with version 2.4.17 of phc.
Version 1.6 of this package was accepted for publication in volume 5 of The Journal of Software for Algebra and Geometry on 20130711, in the article Interfacing with PHCpack. That version can be obtained from the journal or from the Macaulay2 source code repository.
This documentation describes version 1.8 of PHCpack.
The source code from which this documentation is derived is in the file PHCpack.m2. The auxiliary files accompanying it are in the directory PHCpack/.