Range (mathematics)

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Range (mathematics)

In mathematics, the range of a function is the set of all "output" values produced by that function. Sometimes it is called the image, or more precisely, the image of the domain of the function. Range is also occasionally used to indicate the difference between the largest and smallest numbers in a set of real-valued data. If a function is a surjection then its range is equal to its codomain. In a representation of a function in a "xy" Cartesian coordinate system, the range is represented on the ordinate (on the "y" axis).

Examples

Let "f" be a function on the real numbers $fcolon mathbb\left\{R\right\} ightarrowmathbb\left\{R\right\}$ defined by $f\left(x\right) = 2x$. This function takes as input any real number and multiplies it by two. Multiplication by any real number can yield any real number, therefore f(x) may be any real number, which is to say that the range of "f" is (−∞, ∞).

In other instances, range may be restricted by the domain of the function. Consider the function "g" such that $gcolon mathbb\left\{R\right\}^+ ightarrowmathbb\left\{R\right\}, g\left(x\right) = 2x$. Since the codomain is $mathbb\left\{R\right\}$, any real number is a legal value for g(x). However, the domain of "g" is $mathbb\left\{R\right\}^+$, so the input for "g" may only be a real number greater than zero. Multiplying any positive real number by two will always yield another positive real number, so the range of "g" is [0, ∞). Note here that the range of the function is not equal to its codomain, though the range is (and always will be) a subset of the codomain.

Range may also be restricted by the definition of the function. Consider the function "h" such that $hcolon mathbb\left\{R\right\} ightarrowmathbb\left\{R\right\}, h\left(x\right) = x^2$. Here the input is again any real number, though squaring any real number will never yield a negative number, and so the output of "h" may be any nonnegative number (including zero), thus the range is [0, ∞).

ee also

*Domain (mathematics)
*Bijection, injection and surjection
*Rescaled range
*Sequence
*Range of a matrix

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