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You are on page 1of 23

Megha Sharma

1

July 4, 2014

1

Indian Institute of Management Calcutta

Contents

1 Functions 3

1.1 Why do WE need to study functions? . . . . . . . . . . . . 3

1.2 Relations . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 3

1.2.1 Domain of a Relation . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4

1.2.2 Range of a Relation . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4

1.2.3 Practice Problems . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4

1.3 What is a function? . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5

1.3.1 Practice Problems . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 6

1.4 Real Valued Functions . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 6

1.5 Real Functions . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 7

1.6 Determining the domain and range of a real function . . . . . 8

1.6.1 Practice Problems . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 8

1.7 Piecewise Dened Functions . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 9

1.8 Some Commonly Used Functions . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 9

1.8.1 Graph of a Function . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 10

1.8.2 Zeros of a Function . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 10

1.8.3 Polynomial Functions . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 10

1.8.4 Rational Functions . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 19

1.8.5 Exponential Functions . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 21

2

Chapter 1

Functions

1.1 Why do WE need to study functions?

As mentioned in the beginning of Chapter Set Theory, to be able to apply

quantitative techniques to business problems they are represented in the

form of functions. These problems come from diverse streams such as the

problem of scheduling workers to shift from Human Resources stream, the

problem of determining the equilibrium price from Economics, the problem

of forecasting based on the past data from nance and economics and so on.

Since all these problems are represented using functions, it is imperative for

a business student to have a deep understanding of basic concepts relating

to functions and operations on functions. Note that operations such as

dierentiation and integration which are very commonly used in economics

and other streams are also dened on functions only.

1.2 Relations

Functions are a special type of relations, therefore to understand functions,

let us rst understand relations. A relation R from a non-empty set A to

a non-empty set B is a subset of the Cartesian product AB. The subset

is derived by describing a relationship between the rst element and the

second element of the ordered pairs in A B. The fact that relation R is

dened from set A to set B is denoted as R : A B.

For example, consider sets A = {1, 2, 3, 4} and B = {1, 2, 3}. Then

AB = {(1, 1), (1, 2), (1, 3), (2, 1), (2, 2), (2, 3), (3, 1), (3, 2), (3, 3), (4, 1),

(4, 2), (4, 3)}

We can dene a relation R : A B such that R = {(x, y) : y = x + 1}.

Then R = {(1, 2), (2, 3)}. We can see that R A B. In a relation, the

second element in the ordered pair is called the image of the rst element.

For example, in R above, 3 is an image of 2.

3

4 CHAPTER 1. FUNCTIONS

If a relation R

1

is dened from a set A to set A itself, that is, if R

1

:

A A, then we say that R

1

is dened on A.

1.2.1 Domain of a Relation

The set of all the rst elements of the ordered pairs in a relation R :

A B is called the domain of R. For the above example, domain of

R is {1, 2} = A. From this example it is clear that the domain of R

may or may not be the same as set A. To see a case where the domain

of the relation is the same as the rst set, let us dene another relation

R

1

from set A to set B. R

1

: A B, R

1

= {(x, y) : x y}. So

R

1

= {(1, 1), (2, 1), (2, 2), (3, 1), (3, 2), (3, 3), (4, 1), (4, 2), (4, 3)}. Here do-

main of R

1

is A.

1.2.2 Range of a Relation

The set of all the second elements of the ordered pairs in a relation R :

A B is called the range of R. For the above example, range of R

is {2, 3} = B. From this example it is clear that the range of R may

or may not be the same as set B. To see a case where the range of

the relation is the same as the second set, let us dene another relation

R

1

from set A to set B. R

1

: A B, R

1

= {(x, y) : x y}. So

R

1

= {(1, 1), (2, 1), (2, 2), (3, 1), (3, 2), (3, 3), (4, 1), (4, 2), (4, 3)}. Here range

of R

1

is B.

The entire second set in a relation is called the co-domain of the rela-

tion. From the denitions of range and co-domain it is evident that range

co-domain. Note the use of improper subset. From the above denitions

of relations R and R

1

, we can note that a relation can be represented either

in roster form or in set-builder form. A third way of representing a

relation is using arrow diagram.

1.2.3 Practice Problems

1. Consider a relation R : P Q, R = {(x, y) : x = y

2

}, where

P = {9, 4, 25} and Q = {5, 3, 2, 1, 2, 3, 5}. Determine the do-

main, range and co-domain of R.

2. How many distinct relationships can be dened from a set A to a set

B?

3. Consider a relation P dened on N, the set of all natural numbers. If

P = {(x, y) : y = x +5}, then express P in roster form and determine

the domain and the range of P.

1.3. WHAT IS A FUNCTION? 5

1.3 What is a function?

As mentioned in the previous section, functions are special type of relations.

More specically, a relation, say f, from a set A to a set B is called a function

if every element of set A has one and only one image in set B.

In other words, a function f is a relation from a non-empty set A to a

non-empty set B such that the domain of f is A and no two distinct ordered

pairs in f have the same rst element.

The fact that f is dened from set A to set B is denoted by f : A B.

If an ordered pair (a, b) belongs to f, i.e. (a, b) f, then we can denote it

as f(a) = b, and b is called the image of a under f, while a is called bs

pre-image under f.

To understand the denition of a function, let us consider each of the

following relations and see if they qualify as functions.

1. Let A = {1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6}, R

1

: A A, R

1

= {(x, y) : y = x + 1, x

A, y A}

2. Let P = {9, 4, 25} and U = {5, 3, 2, 1, 2, 3, 5}, R

2

: P U,

R

2

= {(p, u) : p = u

2

, p P, u U}.

3. R

3

= {(x, y) : y = 2x, x N, y N}

4. R

4

: R R, R

4

= {(x, y) : y =

x, x R, y R}

5. Let A = {1, 2, 3}, B = {4, 5, 6}. R

5

: A B, R

5

= {(1, 4), (2, 4), (3, 5)}

The relation R

1

can be represented as R

1

= {(1, 2), (2, 3), (3, 4), (4, 5),

(5, 6)} in roster form. From this representation, we can see that while no

element of A occurs more than once in R

1

, element 6 does not have an image

under R

1

. Therefore, R

1

does not qualify as a function.

Let us now consider relation R

2

. R

2

= {(9, 3), (9, 3), (4, 2), (4, 2),

(25, 5), (25, 5)}. Contrary to R

1

, while the domain (i.e. the set of all the

rst elements) of R

2

is P, R

2

is still not a function as elements 9, 4, 25 have

more than one images in R

2

.

Relation R

3

is a function as for every element x N, 2x N; and for

every x N, there is only a unique value of 2x. The second statement can

also be stated as, for every x N, there is only one image.

Relation R

4

is not a function for two reasons. Firstly, not every x in R has

an image which belongs to R. More specically, square roots of negative real

numbers are imaginary numbers which do not belong to R. Secondly, even

for positive real numbers there are two values of square roots, one positive

and one negative. For example,

violates both the conditions for functions and hence is not a function.

However, Relation R

4

brings in the following doubt. Most of us have at

some point in time considered a real function f(x) =

negative real values, we have even considered its dierentiation

d

dx

x =

1

2

x

,

6 CHAPTER 1. FUNCTIONS

integration

xdx =

2

3

x

3/2

+ C. If R

4

is not a function, then how can we

write f(x) =

x and dene its dierentiation and integration. The catch

lies in the fact that while square root of a number refers to both positive

and negative roots, by convention when dening it as a function it refers

only to the positive square root.

Relation R

5

clearly qualies as a function since its domain is equal to A

and no two elements of R

5

have the same rst element.

1.3.1 Practice Problems

1. Let S be the set of all the students in your Mathematics class this

year, D be the set of all the dates since December 31, 1960, and B be

the set of dates of birth of these students.

(a) Let R

6

: S D, R

6

= {(s, d) : s S, d D, d is the date of

birth of s}. Is R

6

a function?

(b) Let R

7

: D S, R

7

= {(d, s) : s S, d D, d is the date of

birth of s}. Is R

7

a function?

(c) Let R

8

: S B, R

8

= {(s, b) : s S, b B, b is the date of

birth of s}. Is R

8

a function?

(d) Let R

9

: B S, R

9

= {(b, s) : s S, b B, b is the date of

birth of s}. Is R

9

a function?

1.4 Real Valued Functions

Recall that a function is a special type of relation, which in turn is a subset of

the Cartesian product of two sets. Since none of the two sets necessarily have

to be a subset of R, relations and functions also can be dened between sets

either one or both of which are not subsets of R. For example, let us consider

two sets S and B, where S is the set of all the students in your Mathematics

class this year, and B is the set of dates of birth of these students. Then, a

relation R

6

= {(s, b) : s S, b B, b is the date of birth of s} qualies as a

function, as the domain of R

6

is S (since every student has a date of birth)

and each element in S has exactly one image in B (since every student has

exactly one date of birth, considering only the true date of birth). Note that

in this example, neither set S nor set B are subsets of R. In fact, both these

sets do not even contain numbers. Therefore, we see that the domain and

the co-domain of functions need not necessarily be subsets of the set of real

numbers.

However, many of the operations of mathematics can only be applied

on numbers. Therefore, in this course on Business Mathematics, we are

concerned with sets for which the co-domain is necessarily a subset of R.

Functions whose co-domain is a subset of R are called real valued functions.

1.5. REAL FUNCTIONS 7

Recall that every set is its own subset as well, therefore the co-domain for

real valued functions is either R or its proper subset. A classic example of

real valued functions is random variable. In probability theory, random

variable is dened as a function from the sample space S to the set of real

numbers R. Note that sample space is the set of all possible outcomes

of an experiment. For example, let the experiment be tossing two coins

simultaneously. In this case, there are four possible outcomes which can be

represented as S = {(H, H), (H, T), (T, H), (T, T)} where the rst element

in the ordered pair denotes the outcome of the rst coin, and the second

element represents the outcome of the second coin. If we dene a random

variable X as the number of heads in the toss, then we can see that X is a

real valued function from S to R as it maps every element of S, the domain

which is not a subset of R in this case, to one and only one element in R.

For instance, (H, H) is mapped to 2, (H, T) is mapped to 1 and so on.

From the above example, we should note two points. First, random

variables even though called variables are essentially real valued functions.

Second, a function maps each element in the domain to exactly one element

in the co-domain, and hence is also called a mapping.

1.5 Real Functions

While real-valued functions are frequently used in probability theory, there

are functions for which both the domain and co-domain are subsets of R.

Such functions are called real functions. Real functions are probably the

most commonly used functions. An example of real function is demand as a

function of price in Economics. Note that both the quantity demanded for

a commodity as well as its price are real numbers. For instance, P : R R,

P(D) = aD +C, where D is the number of units demanded and P(D) is

the corresponding price per unit.

As real functions occur commonly in our course of study, we do not al-

ways specify their domain and co-domain (which are subsets of R). There-

fore, whenever the domain and co-domain of a function are not specied,

then by convention the function is assumed to be a real function with co-

domain R and the domain is that subset of R for which the function can be

dened.

By this convention, we can write a function, say f, f : R R, f =

{(x, y) : y = x

2

, x R, y R}, simply as f(x) = x

2

. Since f(x) = x

2

is

dened for all elements in R, the domain of the function is R. Note that

there is nothing sacrosanct about using x for a variable, one may use any

variable of her choice. For example, f(x) = x

2

is the same as f(y) = y

2

.

Similarly, if a function f is dened as f(x) =

1

x

, then the domain of the

function will be R \ {0} and co-domain will be R. Note that the element

0 is present in the co-domain of the function even though for no value of

8 CHAPTER 1. FUNCTIONS

x in the domain of the function f, f(x) will assume a value 0. While the

co-domain of the function is R, its range is R \ {0}.

1.6 Determining the domain and range of a real

function

As real functions are one of the most commonly used functions, in this

section we focus on determining the domain and the range of real functions.

Given a real function f, its domain is the set of all those real numbers for

which the function value is also a real number. That is, in most of the

cases, the domain is the set of all real numbers excluding those for which

the function is either indeterminate or is imaginary. For instance, consider

the following function.

f(x) =

1

x

This function is indeterminate only for x = 0, for all other real numbers

their reciprocal exist and are also real numbers. Therefore, the domain of

the function is R\ {0}. To determine the range of this function, we need to

determine all those values that f(x) can take, for x in the domain of f. A

systematic procedure to do so is as follows.

As determining the range of a function f is equivalent to determining all

possible values that a variable y can take, where y = f(x). So, we equate

the function to a variable y, and then use the conditions on x to nd out

the permissible values for y. Therefore, for function f(x) =

1

x

, let

f(x) =

1

x

= y

x =

1

y

Since x R\ {0}, y = 0, as y = 0 makes x indeterminate. For all other real

values of y, x remains in the domain of f. So, the range of the function f is

(, 0) (0, ).

1.6.1 Practice Problems

1. Determine the domain of the function g(x) =

x

2

+3x+5

x

2

5x+4

.

2. Determine the domain and range of the function f(x) =

9 x

2

.

3. Determine the domain and range of the function f(x) =

x

2

1+x

2

.

4. Determine the domain and range of the function f(x) = 23x, x R

+

.

5. Determine the domain and range of the function f(x) = x

2

+2, x R.

1.7. PIECEWISE DEFINED FUNCTIONS 9

6. Determine the domain and range of the function

f(x) =

x

2

0 x 2

2x 2 < x 10

1.7 Piecewise Dened Functions

So far, we have mostly considered functions which map every element in their

domain to elements in their co-domain using the same rule or relationship.

For example, f(x) = x

2

. In this example, every x in the domain of function

f is mapped to its square in the co-domain. However, while modeling (i.e.

representing in mathematical terms) many real life phenomena, we need to

use dierent rules for mapping dierent elements of the domain.

For example, consider the denition of the function given in Question

No. 6 above. As can be seen from the denition, the domain of the function

is [0, 10].

f(x) =

x

2

0 x 2

2x 2 x 10

In this function, the mapping between an element in the domain of the

function to an element in the co-domain is given by two dierent rules or

relationships for dierent subsets of the domain. For example, for x [0, 2]

f(x) = x

2

while for x (2, 10], f(x) = 2x. Such a function is called a piece-

wise dened function. Do note that even piecewise dened functions also

satisfy the basic denition of the function, i.e. every element in the domain

has exactly one image in the co-domain. In this example, although we have

dened two rules (x

2

and 2x) for x = 2, both these rules map 2 to only one

element, 4.

An example of piecewise dened functions is the absolute value function

or the modulus function f(x) = |x|. This function can be represented as

f(x) =

x x 0

x x < 0

1.8 Some Commonly Used Functions

Some real functions occur very frequently in subjects such as economics,

marketing, operations research. A priori knowledge of these functions along

with their visual representation (called the graph of a function), help un-

derstanding these subjects better. To understand these subjects, one need

not precisely draw the graph of each function encountered, the knowledge

of the position and the shape of the curve relative to a benchmark suces

the purpose. Therefore, in this section we take a look at the commonly used

functions and look at the some methods to quickly sketch their graphs.

10 CHAPTER 1. FUNCTIONS

1.8.1 Graph of a Function

The graph of a function f is the curve joining the points (x, f(x)) for all the

elements x in the domain of f. By convention, the x values are taken on the

X-axis and the f(x) values are taken on the Y -axis. Therefore, the graph

of a function f can also be represented by the graph of the curve y = f(x).

In other words, to draw the graph of a real function, on the X-Y coordinate

plane we mark the f(x) values for each x in the domain of f and join them.

1.8.2 Zeros of a Function

Zeros of a function refer to those values of x for which f(x) = 0. In other

words, zeros of a function refer to the roots of the equation f(x) = 0. Note

that, since for these values of x, f(x) = 0, these are the points (i.e. x values)

where the graph of the function intersects the X-axis.

1.8.3 Polynomial Functions

A real function of the form,

f(x) = a

0

+a

1

x +. . . a

n

x

n

where n W

is called a polynomial function where a

0

, a

1

, . . . , a

n

R. The highest power

of x in a polynomial function is called the degree of the polynomial. Ex-

amples of polynomial functions of degrees 1 and 3 can be

f(x) = 2 + 3x and f(x) = x

3

respectively.

By comparing these functions with the standard form, we can see that

a

0

= 2, a

1

= 3 in case of the rst function and a

0

= a

1

= a

2

= 0, a

3

= 1 in

case of the second function.

Let us now consider a few functions and see if they qualify as polynomial

functions.

1. f(x) = x

3

x

2

+ 2

2. g(y) = y

2

+ 3

4/3

y

3. h(x) = x +

1

x

4. k(y) = y

3/2

+

2

3

y

The rst function f(x) = x

3

x

2

+2 is a polynomial function of degree

3 as the powers of all x terms are whole numbers, with the highest power

being 3, and the coecients are all real numbers.

The second function g(y) = y

2

+ 3

4/3

y is also a polynomial function as

all the powers of y belong to W and the coecients (i.e. 1, and 3

4/3

) belong

to R. The degree of the polynomial is 2.

1.8. SOME COMMONLY USED FUNCTIONS 11

Both the third and the fourth functions are not polynomial functions, as

the third function includes x

1

, 1 / W and the fourth function includes

y

3/2

, and 3/2 / W. We now take a look at some polynomials of degrees

0,1,2, and 3 which occur frequently in business studies.

Constant Functions

The simplest polynomial functions are that of degree 0. Such functions are

of the form

f(x) = c, where c is a constant, c R

and are also called constant functions.

The graph of any constant function is a straight line, parallel to the X-

axis. The line lies above the X-axis if the constant c is positive, lies below

if c is negative, and coincides with the X-axis if c = 0. Recall that the

equation of X-axis is y = 0, as for all the points on the X-axis, their y

coordinate is zero.

Note that unless c = 0, the constant function does not intersect the X-

axis. Hence, there are no zeros of a constant function unless c = 0. In case

c = 0, all the points in the domain of the function i.e. R, are zeros of the

function or roots of the equation f(x) = 0.

Linear Functions

A polynomial of degree one, such as f(x) = a

0

+ a

1

x, is called a linear

function as its graph is a straight line with intercept a

0

on the Y -axis and

slope a

1

. The intercept is commonly denoted by c and the slope is denoted

by m.

The simplest degree 1 polynomial function or the simplest linear function

is f(x) = x. Comparing it with the standard form f(x) = a

0

+ a

1

x, we see

that the intercept a

0

= 0 and the slope a

1

= 1 for this function. The graph

of this function is a straight line that passes through the origin and bisects

the angle between positive X axis and positive Y axis. It is important to be

very comfortable with this function, as the graphs of other linear functions

can be drawn by manipulating the graph of f(x) = x.

Knowing the graph of f(x) = x, we can easily draw the graph of a linear

function g(x) = mx on the same coordinate plane by comparing the value

of m with 1. Since the intercept in g(x) = mx is zero, its graph also passes

through the origin. Moreover, if 0 < m < 1, the graph of g(x) is more gentle

or gradual than the graph of f(x) = x. In other words, in the rst quadrant

the line lies below the f(x) = x line, intersects it at the origin and lies above

the f(x) = x line in the third quadrant.

Similarly, if 1 < m, the line g(x) = mx is steeper than the line f(x) =

x, and hence in the rst quadrant it lies above the line f(x) = x, intersects

it at the origin, and lies below the f(x) = x line in the third quadrant.

12 CHAPTER 1. FUNCTIONS

Note that for all the values of m (0, ), the graph is upward sloping.

For any two values in its domain, say x

1

and x

2

, if x

1

> x

2

, then f(x

1

)

will also be greater than f(x

2

). A function, for which this property holds,

is called an increasing function or is sometimes called a monotonically

increasing function.

Let us now consider the case when m = 1, that is g(x) = x. The

graph of this function is a straight line that passes through the origin and

bisects the angle between the negative X-axis and the positive Y -axis. Note

that this line also bisects the angle between the positive X-axis and the

negative Y -axis. In other words, the graph of the function bisects the second

quadrant and the fourth quadrant.

Knowing the graph of the function g(x) = x, we can easily draw the

graph of any function f(x) = mx where m (, 0). If 1 < m < 0, the

graph of f(x) = mx is a straight line that lies below the graph of g(x) = x

in the second quadrant and lies above it in the fourth quadrant. The two

graphs intersect at the origin. Here, we see that this graph is more gentle

than the graph of g(x) = x.

Similarly, if m < 1, the graph lies above the graph of g(x) = x in the

second quadrant and lies below it in the fourth quadrant. The two graphs

intersect at the origin. Here, we see that this graph is steeper than the graph

of g(x) = x.

Note that as the value of m becomes smaller and smaller i.e. goes close

to , the graph becomes steeper and steeper. Loosely speaking, as the

value of m becomes , the graph coincides with the Y -axis.

Moreover, for any function g(x) = mx with m < 0, the graph is down-

ward sloping. Also, for any two values of x, say x

1

and x

2

, if x

1

> x

2

,

then f(x

1

) < f(x

2

). That is, as the value of x increases, the function value

decreases. Such functions are called decreasing functions, and are also

sometimes referred to as monotonically decreasing functions. That is,

a function f is called a decreasing function if for any pair x

1

, x

2

of values of

x, where x

1

> x

2

, f(x

1

) < f(x

2

).

So far, we have learnt to draw the graphs of functions of the form f(x) =

mx where m (, ). We now see how to draw graphs of functions of

the form f(x) = mx + c where the slope m (, ) and the intercept

c (, ). To draw the graph of a function f(x) = mx+c, we rst draw

the graph of g(x) = mx and then shift it vertically by c units. The shift

is upwards if c > 0 and downwards if c < 0. In other words, the graph of

f(x) = mx + c is a straight line that is parallel to the graph of g(x) = mx

and passes through the point (0, c) on the Y -axis.

Recall that the graph of a function f is nothing but the graph of the

equation y = f(x). Therefore, even though we have so far discussed straight

lines with equations of the form y = mx + c only, we can use the above

described method to draw the graph of any straight line ax + by = d. For

this, we need to bring the equation to the form y =

a

b

x +

d

b

. So the slope

1.8. SOME COMMONLY USED FUNCTIONS 13

m becomes

a

b

and the intercept c =

d

b

.

Quadratic Functions

Polynomial functions of degree 2 are referred to as quadratic functions. The

general form of a quadratic function can be given as f(x) = a

0

+a

1

x+a

2

x

2

where a

0

, a

1

, a

2

R. Quadratic functions are commonly used to model a

wide variety of real life phenomena, such as prot function, cost function,

etc. The reason for such wide applications of these functions is that these

functions are a better approximation of these phenomena than their linear

counterpart and are yet tractable with some beautiful mathematical prop-

erties.

The simplest quadratic function is f(x) = x

2

. Just like we manipulated

the graph of g(x) = x to draw the graph of any linear function f(x) = mx+c

for m > 0, we will use the graph of f(x) = x

2

to draw the graph of a general

quadratic function. Therefore, let us understand the graph of f(x) = x

2

in

detail.

Since at x = 0, f(x) = 0, the function passes through the origin. To

draw its graph, let us rst concentrate only on positive values of x. When

x = 1, f(x) = 1

2

= 1; x = 2, f(x) = 2

2

= 4; x = 3, f(x) = 9; x = 4, f(x) =

16; x = 5, f(x) = 25; and so on.

x f(x) = x

2

0 0

1 1

2 4

3 9

4 16

5 25

Table 1.1: Function values for f(x) = x

2

From these values, we realize that as the value of x increases, the value

of f(x) also increases, that is, for the positive values of x the function is

strictly increasing (and hence will be upward sloping). Furthermore, note

that for the same increase in the values of x, the increase in the f(x) values

is not the same. The increase is more for higher values of x. For example,

lets consider two sets of values of x, say 0 and 1; and 1 and 2. When x

increase from 0 to 1, i.e. 1 unit increase in the value of x, f(x) increases

from 0 to 1, i.e. 1 unit increase. When x increase from 1 to 2, i.e. 1 unit

increase in the value of x, f(x) increases from 1 to 4, i.e. 3 units increase.

Similarly, when x increase from 2 to 3, i.e. again 1 unit increase in the value

of x, f(x) increases from 4 to 9, i.e. 5 units increase. So, we see that the

increase is higher for larger values of x. This essentially means that the

function is increases at a faster rate for larger values. The two observations

14 CHAPTER 1. FUNCTIONS

together mean that the function is increasing at an increasing rate. That

is, the graph of the function is relatively gradual for smaller values of x and

becomes steeper for larger values of x. The graph of a quadratic function is

also called a parabola.

Let us use these observations to learn about the derivatives of a function,

although we will formally introduce them later. Roughly speaking, the rst

derivative of a function at any point tells us whether the function is increas-

ing or decreasing or constant in the neighborhood of this point. The rst

derivative of f(x) with respect to x is denoted by f

(x) or

df

dx

. If f

(x) > 0

for some value x

1

, this indicates that at points close to x

1

the function is

increasing or is upward sloping. In our example f(x) = x

2

, we have seen

that the function is monotonically increasing (i.e. increasing everywhere) for

x > 0, therefore the rst derivative of f will be positive for x > 0. Sim-

ilarly, if the rst derivative of a function is negative for some interval of

x values, it implies that the function is decreasing in that interval. If the

rst derivative is zero, it implies that the function is constant (i.e. neither

increasing nor decreasing). So, loosely speaking, we can say that the rst

derivative of a function indicates its direction (i.e. whether upward sloping

or downward sloping or horizontal). Readers with basic understanding of

calculus can verify that the rst derivative for this function is indeed positive

f

Lets now consider the second derivative of a function f. The second

derivative of f is denoted by f

the behavior of the rst derivative, just the way the rst derivative tells us

about the behavior of the function. If the second derivative is positive, it

implies that the rst derivative is increasing (i.e. the graph of rst derivative

will be upward sloping). In terms of the original function, this essentially

means that slope of the tangents to the graph of f(x) increases as x increases.

Therefore, for an increasing function, a positive second derivative means that

the function increases at an increasing rate and for a decreasing function, a

positive second derivative means that the function decreases at a decreasing

rate. Similarly a negative second derivative, for an increasing function,

means that the function increases at a decreasing rate and for a decreasing

function, it means that the function decreases at a decreasing rate. We can

verify that f

(x) = 2x > 0, f

2

and x > 0, and the

function is increasing in this interval and it increases at an increasing rate.

We will see more examples of these as we go along.

In summary, we can say, while the rst derivative indicates the direction

of the graph of a function, the second derivative tells us about the curvature

of the function (whether steep or gentle etc.).

Coming back to the graph of f(x) = x

2

, so far we have seen that for x >

0, the function is increasing, moreover it is increasing at an increasing rate

i.e. the graph becomes steeper and steeper as the values of x increase. Now

let us consider values of x < 0. Before drawing the graph for these values,

1.8. SOME COMMONLY USED FUNCTIONS 15

we realize that f(1) = (1)

2

= 1 = f(1); f(2) = (2)

2

= 4 = f(2) and

in fact for any value of x R f(x) = (x)

2

= x

2

= f(x). Any function

for which f(x) = f(x) is called an even function. Since f(x) = f(x),

the graph of even functions is symmetric about the Y -axis. Therefore, we

can draw the graph of f(x) = x

2

for x < 0 as a mirror image of that for the

positive values of x along the Y -axis.

Knowing the graph of f(x) = x

2

, we can now easily draw the graph of

g(x) = 2x

2

. Note that for every value of x, g(x) is twice the value of f(x)

and the two graphs intersect at the origin. So starting at the origin, we draw

the graph of g(x) by joining points with double the value of y coordinate

than those on the graph of f. Just like the graph of f increases at an

increasing rate as we go away from the origin in either direction, the graph

of g also increases in either directions but at double the rate of increase of f.

Therefore, at any point on either side of the origin the graph of g is steeper

than that of f. Hence, its graph is also narrower than that of f.

Using similar logic, we can draw the graph of any function h(x) = ax

2

,

where a > 1. The higher the value of a, the steeper and narrower will be the

graph of h. Similarly, we can also draw the graph of a function k(x) = ax

2

,

where 0 < a < 1. The graph of k will be more gradual and broader than

that of f(x) = x

2

.

To see the behavior of the graph of a function m(x) = bx

2

, where b < 0,

lets rst study the graph of l(x) = x

2

. Comparing the function l with

f(x) = x

2

, we observe that the magnitude of the function values is the same

in both the cases only the signs are opposite, i.e. l(x) = f(x) for all values

of x. Therefore, the graph of l is the same as the graph of f turned upside

down about the origin. So, we see that the graph of l is a parabola opened

downwards. Knowing the graph of l(x), one can easily draw the graph of any

function m(x) = bx

2

, for any value of b < 0. The graph will be a parabola

passing through the origin and opening downwards.

Shifting the curve So far we have learnt to draw the graph of any func-

tion f(x) = ax

2

where a = 0. Knowing this, we can easily draw the graph

of any function g(x) = ax

2

+ c, by realizing that for every value of x, g(x)

is c units more than f(x), if c > 0; or is c units less than f(x) if c < 0.

For example, at x = 0, f(x) = 0 while g(x) = c, similarly at x = 1,

f(x) = a, g(x) = a+c, and so on. Therefore, knowing the graph of f(x), we

can easily get the graph of g(x) by simply shifting the graph of f by c units

vertically upwards if c > 0 or downwards if c < 0.

Lets now consider another simple quadratic function, say g(x) = (x

b)

2

, b > 0. Once again we can use the graph of f(x) = x

2

, to draw the graph

of g by realizing that the values that f(x) attains for values of x, g(x) also

attains the same values but only by a lag of b units. For example, f(x) = 0

at x = 0, g(x) becomes 0 at x = 0+b = b. Similarly, f(x) = 1 at x = 1, g(x)

16 CHAPTER 1. FUNCTIONS

becomes 1 at x = 1 +b, and so on. This is so because out of any value of x

plugged into g(x), b units are used to oset the b present in the function

denition. Therefore, the graph of g is the same as the graph of f but only

when it is shifted horizontally by b units towards the right. Similarly, the

graph of a function h(x) = (x + b)

2

, b > 0 can be obtained by shifting the

graph of f(x) = x

2

horizontally to the left by b units.

Up to this point, we have learnt to draw the graphs of f(x) = x

2

, g(x) =

ax

2

, a = 0, h(x) = ax

2

+ c, k(x) = (x b)

2

. Using the logic described

above, it is now straight forward to draw the graph of a function l(x) =

a(x b)

2

+ c. The graph of l can be obtained by shifting the graph of

g(x) = ax

2

rst by b units horizontally (to the right if b > 0, and to the

left if b < 0) and then c units vertically (upwards if c > 0 and downwards if

c < 0).

As a matter of fact, using the method described above, we can draw the

graph of any quadratic function f(x) = a

0

+ a

1

x + a

2

x

2

, a

2

= 0. For this,

we rst need to transform f(x) to a form that contains a perfect square in

x plus or minus a constant, i.e. f(x) = a(x b)

2

+ c. Once we have this

form, we can easily draw the graph. Now lets see a step by step procedure

to bring f(x) = a

0

+a

1

x +a

2

x

2

into the form f(x) = a(x b)

2

+c.

Transforming f(x) = a

0

+a

1

x+a

2

x

2

into the form f(x) = a(xb)

2

+c

1. The rst step in the procedure is to bring the common factor a

2

out

so that x

2

has a coecient of 1, i.e. f(x) = a

2

(x

2

+

a

1

a

2

x +

a

0

a

2

).

2. Now, to bring the terms inside the parenthesis into a perfect square

in x, we need to multiply and divide the coecient of x by 2, i.e.

f(x) = a

2

(x

2

+ 2

a

1

2a

2

x +

a

0

a

2

).

3. We now add and subtract (

a

1

2a

2

)

2

from the expression inside the paren-

thesis, i.e. f(x) = a

2

(x

2

+ 2

a

1

2a

2

x + (

a

1

2a

2

)

2

(

a

1

2a

2

)

2

+

a

0

a

2

).

4. Combining the rst three terms inside the parenthesis gives us f(x) =

a

2

((x +

a

1

2a

2

)

2

(

a

1

2a

2

)

2

+

a

0

a

2

).

5. We can now simplify the last two terms in the parenthesis to obtain

f(x) = a

2

((x +

a

1

2a

2

)

2

(

4a

0

a

2

1

4a

2

2

).

6. This can be further simplied as f(x) = a

2

((x+

a

1

2a

2

)

2

)

4a

0

a

2

1

4a

2

, which

is the form we desired.

Since we can now bring any quadratic into this form, we can easily draw

their graphs using the method described earlier in this section.

1.8. SOME COMMONLY USED FUNCTIONS 17

Cubic Functions

Polynomial functions of degree 3 are called cubic functions. A typical

cubic function has the following form.

f(x) = a

0

+a

1

x +a

2

x

2

+a

3

x

3

, a

0

, a

1

, a

2

, a

3

R, a

3

= 0

The simplest cubic function is

f(x) = x

3

.

To draw the graph of this function, we observe that for this function

f(x) = (x)

3

= x

3

= f(x).

That is, for this function f(x) = f(x). Any function for which f(x) =

f(x) for all x in the domain of f, is called an odd function. Since

f(x) = f(x), that is, for x and x, the values of the function are equal

but are opposite in sign. Therefore, the graph of the function lies in the

opposite quadrants, or in other words, the graph of the function is symmetric

about the origin.

As the function is an odd function and hence is symmetric about the

origin, knowing the graph of the function for either positive or negative

values of x is sucient for drawing the complete graph. So to draw the

graph, lets focus on only the non-negative values of x and the corresponding

values of f(x).

x f(x) = x

3

0 0

1

2

1

8

1 1

2 8

3 27

4 64

Table 1.2: Function values for f(x) = x

3

From Table 1.2, we can see that as the value of x increases, the value of

f(x) also increases, i.e. the function is increasing. Moreover, we see that for

the same increase in the value of x, the increase in f(x) value is larger for

larger values of x. For example, consider 1 unit increase in the value of x,

say from x = 0 to x = 1, and from x = 3 to x = 4. The increase in f(x)

values are f(1) f(0) = 1 0 = 1 and f(4) f(3) = 64 27 = 37. This

fact is also evident from the graph of the function for all values of x 0,

the graph is gradual for small values of x and becomes steeper and steeper

as the value of x increases. This also tells us that the function increases at

an increasing rate for x 0.

18 CHAPTER 1. FUNCTIONS

To draw the graph of the function for x < 0, we recall that the graph

of an odd function is symmetric about the origin. Therefore, the graph for

x < 0 can be obtained by rst reecting the graph for x 0 along the Y -axis

and then reecting the resultant along the negative X-axis. From the graph

for x < 0, we see that the function is increasing for negative values of x as

well. That is, the function is increasing throughout its domain. However,

for negative values of x, we see that as the value of x increases the graph

becomes atter and atter, i.e. the value of f(x) increases at a decreasing

rate.

We now verify about our observations from the graph using the rst

and second order derivatives of the function. In the paragraphs above, we

had observed that the function is increasing through out its domain, which

requires the rst derivative to be positive through out the domain. The rst

derivative of f(x) = x

3

is f

(x) = 3x

2

which is positive for all values of x

except when x = 0. Now to verify the rate of increase in function, lets look

at its second derivative, i.e. f

(x). f

is negative for all x < 0. As for x > 0, both the rst and second derivatives

are positive, it implies that for x > 0, the function increases at an increasing

rate. Similarly, as for x < 0, the rst derivative is positive and the second

derivative is negative, it implies that the function increases at a decreasing

rate. This veries our ndings from the graph of the function.

Knowing the graph of f(x) = x

3

, we can easily draw the graph of g(x) =

x

3

. Note that for every value of x, g(x) = x

3

= f(x), therefore the

graph of g is a reection of the graph of f along the X-axis.

We can also draw the graph of h(x) = ax

3

. If a > 1, the graph of h

increases at a rate faster than the graph of f(x) = x

3

for x > 0 and at a rate

slower than that for f(x) = x

3

for x < 0. Similarly, if 0 < a < 1, the graph

of h increases at a rate slower than the graph of f(x) = x

3

for x > 0 and at

a rate faster than that for f(x) = x

3

for x < 0. The readers are requested

to study the behavior the graph of h for negative values of a.

knowing the graph of h(x) = ax

3

for any real value of a, we can also draw

the graph of any function k(x) = a(xb)

3

. The graph of the function k can

be obtained by shifting the graph of the function h(x) = ax

3

horizontally

by b units to our right if b > 0 and to our left if b < 0. Similarly the graph

the function l(x) = a(x b)

3

+ c can be obtained by shifting the graph of

k(x) = a(x b)

3

vertically upwards by c units if c > 0 and downwards if

c < 0.

Above we have learnt to draw the graph of the function f(x) = a(x

b)

3

+ c for a, b, c R. However, unlike quadratic functions not every cubic

function can be transformed into the form f(x) = a(x b)

3

+c. Therefore,

now we see how to draw the graph of any general cubic function. We can

draw the graph of any general cubic function f(x) = a

0

+a

1

x+a

2

x

2

+a

3

x

3

if

we know its roots. Note that for a polynomial function g of degree n, there

are at most n distinct roots of the equation g(x) = 0. Therefore, a cubic

1.8. SOME COMMONLY USED FUNCTIONS 19

function has at most three distinct zeros. Let , , and be the three roots

of the equation f(x) = 0. Moreover, for any polynomial function, the sign

of the polynomial remains the same between two consecutive roots. We use

this property to draw the graph of the function f. Note that roots of the

equation f(x) = 0, are the values of x for which f(x) = 0, i.e. the values of

x where the graph intersects the X-axis. Therefore, we use these roots to

partition the domain of the function and determine the sign of the function

in each of these partitions. We then join the graph smoothly without any

kink or sharp turn.

As an example, let us draw the graph of the function f(x) = x

3

5x

2

+4x. We know the roots of this equation are 0, 1, 4, so we partition the

domain of the function i.e. R into (, 0), (0, 1), (1, 4), and (4, ). We now

determine the sign of the function in each of these intervals. To determine

the sign, we pick any value in the interval and the sign of the function for

this value is the sign of the function in that interval. Here we see that

f(x) < 0 x (, 0), f(x) > 0 x (0, 1), f(x) < 0 x (1, 4), and

f(x) > 0 x (4, ). So, we draw the graph by ensuring the correct sign

in each interval and joining the points smoothly.

In the previous example, note that the sign of the polynomial function

alternates between two consecutive intervals. It is not a coincident. In

fact, if a polynomial of degree n has n distinct roots then the sign of the

polynomial alternates between two consecutive intervals dened by its roots.

This is because at each root the polynomial intersects the X-axis while

moving from either the positive (or negative) function values to negative

(respectively positive) values. However, this is necessarily true only when

the polynomial has n distinct roots. If the polynomial has roots which are

equal, this property may not hold depending upon how many roots are equal.

Practice Problems

1. Draw the graph of the cubic function f(x) = x

3

4x

2

+ 5x 2.

1.8.4 Rational Functions

A function of the form g(x) =

P(x)

Q(x)

where P(x) and Q(x) are polynomial

functions of x, is called a rational function of x. The domain of g is the set

of all the real numbers for which Q(x) = 0. That is,

Domain of g(x) = {x : x R, Q(x) = 0}

Note that a constant function can be considered the simplest rational

function, but that would be a trivial rational function. Therefore, we con-

sider f(x) =

1

x

to be the simplest rational function. It is evident that the

domain of f is R \ {0} or (, 0) (0, ).

20 CHAPTER 1. FUNCTIONS

Let us now draw the graph of f. Before, actually plotting the graph,

we observe that f(x) =

1

x

= f(x). That is, f is an odd function.

Therefore, knowledge of the graph for the positive values is sucient for us

to draw the graph for the entire domain of the function. So we consider only

positive values of x. We see that for x > 0, f(x) > 0 as well. Moreover,

as the value of x increases, the value of f(x) decreases. In fact, f(x) is a

decreasing function. To know the general shape of the graph, let us take

some values of x and determine f(x) for those values.

x f(x) = frac1x

1 1

2 0.50

3 0.33

4 0.25

10 0.10

100 0.01

10000 0.0001

Table 1.3: Function values for f(x) =

1

x

From Table 1.3, we see that as the value of x increase f(x) decreases.

Moreover, as the value of x becomes larger and larger, that is, tends to

(written mathematically as x ), the value of f(x) remains positive

but becomes smaller and smaller,essentially becomes close to zero, (which is

denoted as f(x) 0) but never becomes 0. Therefore, we say that the line

x = 0 is a horizontal asymptote to the function.

More specically, a line x = c is called a horizontal asymptote to a

function f, if as x or x , f(x) c. Note that an asymptote

can be visualized as a tangent to the graph at innity, that is, the graph

becomes closer and closer to the asymptote but never touches it.

We now take a look at the rate at which the function is decreasing. From

the table, we can see that between x = 1 and x = 2, the function reduces

by f(1) f(2) = 1 0.5 = 0.5 whereas between x = 10 and x = 100,

the function reduces by f(10) f(100) = 0.10 0.01 = 0.09 only. That

is, function decreases at a decreasing rate, which can be veried as, rstly

f

(x) =

1

x

2

< 0, x i.e. the function is decreasing; and secondly f

(x) =

2

1

x

3

> 0, x > 0 i.e. it decreases at a decreasing rate.

So far, we have only considered values of x > 1. Now let us consider

0 < x < 1 as shown in Table 1.4.

From the table, we see that as the value of x decreases, the function

increases. Moreover, as x 0, the function value f(x) . Note that x

never becomes 0 as, 0 is not in the domain of f, and f(x) never becomes

. Here, we say, that the Y -axis is a vertical asymptote to the function.

More specically, a line x = a is called a vertical asymptote if as x a,

1.8. SOME COMMONLY USED FUNCTIONS 21

x f(x) = frac1x

1 1

1

2

2

1

4

4

1

10

10

1

100

100

1

10000

10000

Table 1.4: Function values for f(x) =

1

x

f(x) or f(x) .

Knowing the graph of the function f we can easily draw the graph of

g(x) =

a

x

, a R by adjusting the slope of the function depending upon

the value of a. Similarly we can also draw the graph of a function h, where

h(x) =

1

xb

, b R. If b > 0 the graph of h can be obtained by shifting

the graph of f by b units horizontally to our right and if b < 0, the graph

is shifted to our left. Note that this shifting changes the vertical asymptote

to the graph. The line x = 0 is not a vertical asymptote to the function h,

but the line x = b is. The X-axis is a horizontal asymptote to h as well.

Similarly, we can draw the graph of a function k, where k(x) =

1

x

+

c, c R. The graph of k can be obtained by shifting the graph of

function f, by c units vertically upwards if c > 0 and downwards if c < 0.

Note that just like the function f, the line x = 0 is a vertical asymptote

to this graph as well but the X-axis is not a horizontal asymptote to this

graph. In fact the line y = c is a horizontal asymptote to this graph.

Combining the techniques of horizontal and vertical shifts learnt above,

we can draw the graph of any function l of the form l(x) =

a

xb

+c.

1.8.5 Exponential Functions

A real function f of the form f(x) = a

x

where a > 0 and a = 1 is called an

exponential function. Please note that a can be any positive real number

except 1, and it need not always be e to be called an exponential function.

The constant a is called the base of the exponent.

Exponential functions are commonly used in business studies such as

nance, probability and statistics etc. One of the most basic example of an

exponential function is the compound interest. Given the interest rate per

interval of compounding r, and the principle P, the amount as a function of

the investment period can be given as A(t) = P(1 + r)

t

. Here we see A(t)

is an exponential function with base (1 +r).

22 CHAPTER 1. FUNCTIONS

To draw the graph of the function f(x) = a

x

, we consider two cases:

a > 1 and 0 < a < 1. Let us rst consider a > 1, let say a = 2. We observe

that f(x) = 2

x

= f(x) and f(x) = 2

x

= f(x), i.e. the function is

neither odd nor even. Therefore, to draw its graph we need to know its

behavior through out its domain. So, to understand the behavior of the

function f(x) = 2

x

, we take a few values of x and determine the values of

f(x) as shown in Table 1.5.

x f(x) = 2

x

0 1

1 2

2 4

3 8

4 16

-1

1

2

-2

1

4

Table 1.5: Function values for f(x) =

1

x

From the table it is clear that 2

x

is always positive, i.e. there is no value

of x for which 2

x

is negative or 0. Moreover, we see as the value of x

increases, the value of f(x) increases as well. We also see, that for the same

1 unit increase in x values, from x = 0 to x = 1, the function value increases

by 1 unit (f(1) f(0) = 2 1 = 1), whereas it increases by 8 units from

x = 3 to x = 4. That is, the function increases at an increasing rate. We

also observe that as the value of x becomes more and more negative, i.e. x

decreases, the function value becomes closer and closer to zero, but never

becomes zero. That is as x , f(x) 0, i.e. the X-axis is a horizontal

asymptote for the function. So, in short, the graph of f(x) = 2

x

is always

positive, intersects the Y -axis at x = 0, increases at an increasing rate and

has the X-axis as a horizontal asymptote on the negative side.

Now let us consider the second case, that is, g(x) = a

x

for 0 < a < 1.

For instance, let a =

1

2

. Note that g(x) = (

1

2

)

x

= 2

x

. Since f(x) = 2

x

and

g(x) = 2

x

, for example, g(0) = f(0) = 1, g(1) = 2

1

= f(1), and so on

as shown in Table 1.6

As can be seen from the table, the graph of g(x) is a reection of the

graph of f(x) along the Y -axis.

NOTE: Please read up on Algebra of Real Functions, Composite Func-

tions, Properties of Functions, and Inverse Functions from the text book

and NCERT textbooks.

1.8. SOME COMMONLY USED FUNCTIONS 23

x g(x) = 2

x

f(x) = 2

x

0 1 1

1

1

2

2

2

1

4

4

3

1

8

8

4

1

16

16

-1 2

1

2

-2 4

1

4

Table 1.6: Function values for f(x) =

1

x

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