This chapter is devoted entirely to one of the most important concepts in mathematics namely functions. We begin the chapter by carefully looking at exactly what we mean by a function introducing the domain, codomain and range of a function. The most important class of functions are the linear functions which we will study extensively. Next, we look at some of the most important nonlinear functions. The chapter is concluded with a few slightly more advanced topics related to functions.
Functions in general
In the first section we study the general concept of a function. A function is a rule that for each element in the domain assigns an element in the codomain. We then focus on real-valued functions of one real variable and look at graphs of such functions. Next, we investigate what happens to the graph of a function when we make changes, such as multiplying the function by a scalar. Finally we look at the definitions of increasing and decreasing functions and the strict versions of these concepts.
This section is entirely focused on the most important class of functions namely the linear functions. We will look at what we mean by the slope and the intercept of a linear function and we will look at how to determine the graph of a given linear function. We will also look at how to determine the equation of the function from, for example, two points on its graph.
In this section we will look at the most common nonlinear functions. We begin with the quadratic functions and general polynomials and we study the graphs of these types of functions. Then we study the power functions, functions where the base in the power is our variable. For the exponential functions, it is the exponent in the power is our variable. This section is concluded with the logarithmic functions.
The final section of this chapter contains a few slightly more advanced topics. We begin with composite functions, where the basic idea is to put one function “inside” another function. We will learn how more complex functions can be written as a composition of simpler functions. We will then study properties of an injective function, a surjective function and a bijective function. From any bijective function we can create a new function called the inverse of the function. We will look at the problem of how to find the inverse of a bijective function. Finally, we will look at implicit relationships between two variables that in some cases may be converted into an explicit relationship or a function.