- Linear function
mathematics, the term linear function can refer to either of two different but related concepts.
analytic geometry, the term "linear function" is sometimes used to mean a first degree polynomialfunction of one variable. These functions are called "linear" because they are precisely the functions whose graph in the Cartesian coordinate planeis a straight line.
Such a function can be written as
(called slope-intercept form), where and are real
constants and is a real variable. The constant is often called the slopeor gradient, while is the y-intercept, which gives the point of intersection between the graph of the function and the -axis. Changing makes the line steeper or shallower, while changing moves the line up or down.
Examples of functions whose graph is a line include the following:
The graphs of these are shown in the image at right.
In advanced mathematics, a "linear function" often means a function that is a
linear map, that is, a map between two vector spaces that preserves vector addition and scalar multiplication.
For example, if and are represented as
coordinate vectors, then the linear functions are those functions that can be expressed as
:, where M is a matrix.
A function is a linear map if and only if . For other values of this falls in the more general class of
* [http://id.mind.net/~zona/mmts/functionInstitute/linearFunctions/linearFunctions.html Linear Functions on Id Mind]
* [http://www.mathopenref.com/linearexplorer.html Interactive tool to explore linear functions]
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