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Describes for students the differences between sequences, series, and functions and discusses some important points of each.

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**Some sequences have an
**

underlying pattern each term can be predicted by the term before it based on some

underlying formula. Examples: arithmetic, geometric, infinite geometric, exponential,

binomial, logarithmic, trigonometric, etc. Sequences are discrete.

Function: the determination of a number from another number. The value of the function

DEPENDS on the value of the independent variable. However, each value of the

independent variable can produce only one value of a dependent variable (this is called

mapping). Functions are (usually) continuous( they can have some discontinuity or

asymptotes).

Distribution: a description of the probability that a given value (usually random) can be

generated by a given function.

Concentrate on what a function is. When we give a function such as f(x)= 2x. The value

of the function is determined by the value of x. The other part of the function, the 2, does

not change. It is known as a constant. If you were to graph this function it would be a

straight line. If you changed the constant to 3 (f(x)= 3x), You would still have a straight

line, but the slope would have change. Thus, changing the CONSTANTS in a function

may change the way the function appears (change in slope, intercept, limit), but it will not

change the underlying nature of the function.

Functions are related to series. An arithmetic series can be described by a linear function:

f(x)= mx+b. It is more commonly written as: ak+1= ak + d , where:

ak+1 is the next term after ak and d is the amount that gets added each time. But we could

just as easily write the formula as: ak+1= a0+ k(d). or…

f(x)= a0+ d(x) where x takes on the values 1, 2, 3,…. If x is allowed to take on any value,

the “series” can be graphed as a straight line.

Similarly, geometric series are written as:

ak+1= akr. Because r is the ratio of one term to the next, the formula can be rewritten as:

an=a0* rn-1.

If n could take on any value (not just whole numbers), what would this function look like

when graphed?

So, what’s the point?

With any function, we are trying to visualize the function. First, we must be able to

identify what type of function we are dealing with. Try listing all the types of functions

you have learned thus far.

Next, we must try to look at (or determine) the constants in the function that make that

function unique. Think of functions as a family where the differences between the family

members are determined by the constants of the function.

The constants of any function (in one variable) are anything but the x (or whatever

variable name is in the f( ) statement.

we (actually the calculator or the computer these days). For series. You collect data. etc. But if you are given points and have to find the function.) to determine the constants. Make a list of all the series you know and all the functions you have studied. For each series and function you have studied. To do this. This is what your calculator does. in order to perform regression analysis. but with large amounts of data. it would be tedious. knowing the function and predicting a value from a given input). You can put the data into two lists (L1 and L2) then do various tests (like linear. What about the probability density functions? What are they? Well. which button does a regression analysis). you need to know the underlying formulas and the effect of varying the constants. You could do this by hand. This is excellent preparation for the final exam. This is known as regression analysis (we are regressing from the data to the underlying function vs. graph it. It then tries to determine what is the probability that each point came from such a function. you must know how to predict any given element and to find the sum to a particular point (or between two points). Make a study sheet for each one. using tables similar to those you used for the normal distribution. In most of the problems you are being presented with.This all becomes very important when you begin to look at real-world data. List which buttons on the calculator correspond to the various functions and series. Then you try to fit the data to that function by determining the constants. exponential. and try to determine what the underlying function is. you must use regression techniques. listing formulas and giving the general graph and the effect of the constants. you are given the formula for the underlying function and then must apply it to find a specific point. (If it’s a logarithmic function. the probability density functions must be programmed into the machine. Refresh your memory and put them onto flash cards! . looks at the data compared to the underlying function you are testing (such as linear). For logarithms and exponents you must also be very familiar with the log and exponent rules.

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