Graph of a function


Graph of a function

In mathematics, the graph of a function "f" is the collection of all ordered pairs ("x", "f"("x")). In particular, if "x" is a real number, "graph" means the graphical representation of this collection, in the form of a curve on a Cartesian plane, together with Cartesian axes, etc. Graphing on a Cartesian plane is sometimes referred to as curve sketching. If the function input "x" is an ordered pair ("x"1, "x"2) of real numbers, the graph is the collection of all ordered triples ("x"1, "x"2, "f"("x"1, "x"2)), and its graphical representation is a surface (see three dimensional graph).

The graph of a function on real numbers is identical to the graphic representation of the function. For general functions, the graphic representation cannot be applied and the formal definition of the graph of a function suits the need of mathematical statements, e.g., the closed graph theorem in functional analysis.

The concept of the graph of a function is generalised to the graph of a relation. Note that although a function is always identified with its graph, they are not the same because it will happen that two functions with different codomain could have the same graph. For example, the cubic polynomial mentioned below is a surjection if its codomain is the real numbers but it is not if its codomain is the complex field.

Examples

Functions of one variable

The graph of the function: f(x)= left{egin{matrix} a, & mbox{if }x=1 \ d, & mbox{if }x=2 \ c, & mbox{if }x=3. end{matrix} ight. is:{(1,a), (2,d), (3,c)}.

The graph of the cubic polynomial on the real line: f(x)=x^3}-9x} ! is: {("x", "x"3-9"x") : "x" is a real number}.If this set is plotted on a Cartesian plane, the result is a curve (see figure).

Function of two variables

The graph of the trigonometric function on the real line: "f(x, y) = sin(x2)·cos(y2)"is: {("x", "y", sin(x2)·cos(y2)) : "x" is a real number}.If this set is plotted on a three dimensional Cartesian coordinate system, the result is a surface (see figure).

Tools for plotting function graphs

Hardware

* Graphing calculator
* Oscilloscope

Software

See List of graphing software

See also


* Critical point
* Derivative
* Epigraph
* Chart
* Stationary point
* Slope
* Solution point
* Tetraview
* Vertical translation
* Y-intercept

External links

* [http://www.thinkanddone.com/ge/default.html Online Function Graphing with GraphEasy]
* [http://web01.shu.edu/projects/reals/classes/tools.html Some Java applets to study Real Functions]
* Weisstein, Eric W. " [http://mathworld.wolfram.com/FunctionGraph.html Function Graph] ." From MathWorld--A Wolfram Web Resource.


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