- Second derivative test
In

calculus , a branch ofmathematics , the**second derivative test**is a criterion often useful for determining whether a givenstationary point of a function is a local maximum or a local minimum.The test states: If the function $f$ is twice

differentiable in a neighborhood of a stationary point $x$, meaning that $f^\{prime\}(x)\; =\; 0$, then:* If $f^\{primeprime\}(x)\; <\; 0$ then $f$ has a local maximum at $x$.

* If $f^\{primeprime\}(x)\; >\; 0$ then $f$ has a local minimum at $x$.

* If $f^\{primeprime\}(x)\; =\; 0$, the second derivative test says nothing about the point $x$.In the last case, the function may have a local maximum or minimum there, but the function is sufficiently "flat" that this is undetected by the second derivative. Such an example is $f(x)\; =\; x\; ^4$.

**Multivariable case**For a function of more than one variable, the second derivative test generalizes to a test based on the

eigenvalue s of the function'sHessian matrix at the stationary point. In particular, assuming that all second order partial derivatives of "f" are continuous on a neighbourhood of a stationary point "x", then if the eigenvalues of the Hessian at "x" are all positive, then x is a local minimum. If the eigenvalues are all negative, then "x" is a local maximum, and if some are positive and some negative, then the point is asaddle point . If the Hessian matrix is singular, then the second derivative test is inconclusive.**Proof of Second Derivative Test**Suppose we have $f"(x)\; >\; 0$ (the proof for $f"(x)\; <\; 0$ is analogous). Then

:$0\; <\; f"(x)\; =\; lim\_\{h\; o\; 0\}\; frac\{f\text{\'}(x\; +\; h)\; -\; f\text{\'}(x)\}\{h\}\; =\; lim\_\{h\; o\; 0\}\; frac\{f\text{\'}(x\; +\; h)\; -\; 0\}\{h\}\; =\; lim\_\{h\; o\; 0\}\; frac\{f\text{\'}(x+h)\}\{h\}$

Thus, for "h" sufficiently small we get

:$frac\{f\text{'}(x+h)\}\{h\}\; >\; 0$which means that:$f\text{'}(x+h)\; <\; 0$ if "h" < 0, and:$f\text{'}(x+h)\; >\; 0$ if "h" > 0.

Now, by the

first derivative test we know that $f$ has a local minimum at $x$.**Concavity test**The second derivative test may also be used to determine the concavity of a function as well as a function's points of inflection. First, all points at which $f\text{'}(x)\; =\; 0$ are found. In each of the intervals created, $f"(x)$ is then evaluated at a single point. For the intervals where the evaluated value of $f"(x)\; <\; 0$ the function $f(x)$ is concave down, and for all intervals between critical points where the evaluated value of $f"(x)\; >\; 0$ the function $f(x)$ is concave up. The points that separate intervals of opposing concavity are points of inflection.

**ee also*** Fermat's theorem

*First derivative test

*Higher order derivative test

*Differentiability

*Extreme value

*Inflection point

*Convex function

*Concave function **References*** [

*http://mathworld.wolfram.com/SecondDerivativeTest.html Second Derivative Test from*]**Mathworld**

* [*http://www.math.hmc.edu/calculus/tutorials/secondderiv/ Concavity and the Second Derivative Test*]

* [*http://mathdl.maa.org/convergence/1/?pa=content&sa=viewDocument&nodeId=606&bodyId=948 Thomas Simpson's use of Second Derivative Test to Find Maxima and Minima*] at [*http://mathdl.maa.org/convergence/1/ Convergence*]

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