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1/31/2011 Sojharo

Partial Derivatives & Their Geometric Meaning in 2-Dimensions Sojharo Institute of Business Administration Faculty of Computer Science Calculus and Analytic Geometry Hisham Bin Zubair January 31, 2011

PARTIAL DERIVATIVES AND THEIR GEOMETRICAL MEANING IN 2-DIMENSIONS
Introduction to 3-dimensions
There are many situations when equations with more than one independent variable are also required. Similarly, there are also such functions which have more than one independent variable. Whenever, 1-dimension is considered, in mathematical point of view, it means one dependent variable (say x) and one independent variable (say y). Such an equation can be represented in 2-dimensional coordinate system. But, whenever 2-dimensions are considered, it means there are two independent variables (say x and y) and one dependent variable (say z). When we talk of partial derivative in 2-dimensions, we mean partial derivative of a function with two independent variables. Such an equation can be represented in 3-dimensional coordinate system. Because equation with 2 independent variables has three coordinates i.e. x-coordinate, ycoordinate and z-coordinate. Graphical representation of one of such functions is shown in the following figure.

Figure 1: This figure shows the graph for the function: z= sinx + 2siny

In figure 1, there are three different variables: x, y and z. The variables x and y are independent and the variable z is dependent on both x and y. It is denoted by z = f(x, y). In the

above area, we have graph in three-space (x, y, and z) instead of two-space (x, y). Therefore, we call above space as xyz-coordinate system. In many books whenever function in 3-dimensions is considered, it is assumed to have two independent variables and one dependent variable. On the other hand, some books also show function in 3-dimensions as function having three independent variables and one dependent variable. We will use the latter way to represent functions with more than one independent variable. So, function in 2-dimensions here means the function with two independent variables and 1 dependent variable which can be represented on the 3-dimensional coordinate system.

Partial Derivative in 2-Dimensions
In function like z = f(x, y), when we hold one independent variable (say y) constant and differentiate with respect to other variable (say x), we get a partial derivative. In other words, we hold any one of two variables fixed i.e. if we hold the variable x fixed then we let the variable y vary and can also differentiate with respect to y. This type of derivate has its own notation and uses a symbol which looks like .

Definition of Partial Derivative
If we have z = f(x, y), then the partial derivative of z with respect to x is simply derivative of z with respect to x when the variable y is kept constant. We often denote the variable y as y = when it is held fixed. This partial derivative is denoted by limit:

and can be expressed as form of

lim

∆ ,

,

Equation 1: Differentiation of f(x, y) with respect to x while y remains constant

Graphically, it may be expressed as:

Figure 2: Graphical representation of the derivative of f(x, y), with respect to x while y remains constant

Similarly, the partial derivative of z with respect to y is simply derivative of z with respect to y when the variable x is kept constant. We often denote the variable x as x = is held fixed. This partial derivative is denoted by lim , when it

and can be expressed as form of limit: ∆ ∆ ,

Equation 2: Differentiation of f(x, y) with respect to y while x remains constant

Graphically, it may be expressed as:

Figure 3: Graphical representation of the derivative of f(x, y), with respect to y while x remains constant

The subscript y or x in Equation 1 and Equation 2 denotes the variable that is held constant. If there is no ambiguity, the subscript can be omitted. Partial derivative can be evaluated by the same rules as for ordinary differentiation, treating one of both independent variables as constant. If we notice, after taking differentiation of f(x, y) with respect to x and then again differentiating it with respect to y, we get two tangent lines associated with the plane z = f(x, y) at the point , , , (Figure 4).

Figure 4: Figures Figure 2 and Figure 3 combined. The tangent lines at the point , , may say, appears to be the tangent to the surface.

,

a plane that, we

Example 1: Evaluating Partial Derivatives Find the partial derivatives of , 4

5

4 .

Solution Treating y as constant and differentiating with respect to x, we obtain 12 4

Treating x as a constant and differentiating with respect to y, we obtain 8 5

These two partial derivatives are sometimes called first order partial derivatives. The definitions of and give us two different ways of differentiating z = f(x, y) at a point: with

respect to x while keeping y as a constant and with respect to y while keeping x as a constant. As

the above and following examples show, the values of these partial derivatives are usually different at a given point ( , ).

Example 2: Finding Partial Derivatives at a point Find the values of and at the point (4, -5) if

,

3

1.

Solution: To find , we treat y as a constant and differentiae with respect to x: x 2x 3xy 3·1·y y 0 1 0

2 The value of To find

3

at (4, -5) is equal to 2(4) + 3(-5) = -7.

, we treat x as a constant and differentiae with respect to y: x 0 3xy 1 y 0 1

3 The value of

3·x·1 1

at (4, -5) is equal to 3(4) + 1 = 13.

Figure 5: Graph of the function given in Example 2

Note that for a 2-dimensional plane, the partial derivative with respect to x happens to be independent of variable y, and partial derivative with respect to y happens to be independent of variable x. This situation will not be true in general. The total derivative of F is a tiny piece of surface defined by the partial derivatives:

Example 3: Finding Partial Derivative of a rational function 9 5 Solution: In such kind of problem, as in Calculus I, we will use quotient rule. 9 9 Now, 0 5 45 5 5 9 5 5 5 9 2

5

45

What’s the logic behind this topic?
Whenever we differentiate the function f with respect to x, we are finding the rate of change of f whenever x changes. This shows how the change in x affects the change in f. Similarly, in partial derivatives the result we get helps us to understand how the change in both x and y affects the change in f. In standard partial derivative we hold all independent variables constant but x. On the other hand, in total derivative all independent variables are allowed to vary with x.

Chain Rule in Partial Derivatives (Implicit Differentiation)
If we have function in terms of three variable x, y and z we may assume that z is a function of y and x. In other words, we can write z = f(x, y). Then whenever we differentiate z’s with respect to x we use the chain rule and add on a with respect to y we will add on a . . Likewise, whenever we differentiate z’s

Example 4 Find and for the function,

5

Solution: We start differentiating with differentiate a z. 3 2 5 5 2 . We should not forget to add on a whenever we

Now, solving for 2 2 5 2 3 5 and this time we should remember to add on a 2 3

Now, we will do same thing for whenever we differentiate a z. 2 2 3 2 5 25 5 25 3 5 25 3

Higher Order Partial Derivatives
In case we have to find the Higher Order derivatives for the function involving more than one independent variable, we use the same method that we used to do for the functions with one variable. But this time, we will have four possible second order derivatives. Here they are and the notations that will be used to denote them.

Bibliography
Anton, H. (1999). Calculus: A New Horizon. John Willey & Sons. Blinder, S. M. (2008). Guide to Essential Math. London: Elsevier. Finney, T. (2005). Calculus. Pearson Addison-Wesley. Paul. (n.d.). Calculus III: Partial Derivatives. Retrieved January 29, 2011, from Paul's Online Math Notes: http://tutorial.math.lamar.edu/Classes/CalcIII/PartialDerivatives Wolfram. (n.d.). Total Derivatives. Retrieved January 28, 2011, from Wolfram Mathematica: Documentation Center: http://reference.wolfram.com/mathematica/tutorial/TotalDerivatives.html Wrede, R. C., & Spiegel, M. (2002). Advanced Calculus: Schaum's Outlines. USA: McGraw-Hill.

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