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Piecewise-Defined Functions

# Piecewise-Defined Functions

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11/25/2014

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PIECEWISE-DEFINED FUNCTIONS
INTRO
A piecewise function exists when a function is defined by two or more different functionsthroughout its domain. The first step inevaluatinga piecewise function is to determinewhich function definition applies depending on the value of
x
that is being input. Oncethat has been determined, we evaluate the function as usual by substituting in the givenvalue of
x
.
_______________________________________________________________________

Example:
Given
+<=
010)(
2
xif  x xif  x x f
, find

f
(-1),
f
(0), and
f
(1)

Solution:
First, we want to evaluate
f
at
1
=
x
, so
x x f
=
)(is the equation
to
use(since it applies whenever
0
<
x
)
.
1)1( )1()1( )(
== =
f  f  x x f
Next, we want to evaluate
f
at 0
=
x
, so 1)(
2
+=
x x f
is the equation
to
use (since itapplies whenever0
x
)
.
1)0( 10)0( 1)(
22
=+=+=
f  f  x x f
Finally, we want to evaluate
f
at 1
=
x
, so 1)(
2
+=
x x f
is the equation
to
use (since itapplies whenever 0
x
)
.
2)1( 11)1( 1)(
22
=+=+=
f  f  x x f

_______________________________________________________________________