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10 Lines
Recall that there are two basic forms for the equation of a line and that these forms are equiv-
alent. Let f (x) be a line with slope m ∈ R and y-intercept b ∈ R. We say that the slope-
intercept form of f (x) is given by f (x) = mx + b. Consider a point P = (x1 , y1 ) in R2 , i.e.,
such that x1 and y1 are all real numbers. We say that the point-slope form of f (x) is given by
y − y1 = m(x − x1 ), where we have interchanged f (x) and y since we have that y = f (x).
(a.) Give the slope-intercept form of the line f (x) with slope m = 5 and y-intercept −1.
(b.) Give the slope-intercept form of the line f (x) that passes through (1, 0) and (3, 4).
(c.) Give the point-slope form of the line with slope m = −2 that passes through (−1, −3).
(d.) Give the point-slope form of the line that passes through (2, 4) and (5, 5).

2 Functions, Limits, and the Derivative

2.1 Functions and Their Graphs
2.1.1 Functions
Definition. We say that a function f : A → B is a rule that assigns to each element in a set A
one and only one element of a set B.
We call the set A the domain of the function. We say that the range of the function is the set
of all values f (x) such that x ∈ A. Observe that the range of a function is a subset of B. We note
the importance of the phrase “one and only one” in the definition of a function.
• Consider working in a grocery store and being responsible for pricing items. Each item
should possess one and only one price. Otherwise, when the cashier rings up the item, she
will not know which price to use. Likewise, a function should assign to each element x in A
one and only one value f (x) in B. We say that a function must be “well-defined.”
• Recall that the equation y 2 + x2 = 1 describes
√ a circle of radius 1 that is centered about the
origin; however, solving for y give y = ± 1 − x2 . Observe that every value except x = ±1
gives two possible outputs under y = f (x), hence y 2 + x2 = 1 is not a function in y.
We will represent a function f of only one variable x as f (x), hence to evaluate the function at a
particular value C in its domain, we will write find the value of f (C).
Evaluating Functions. Let f (x) = x2 + 3. Evaluate f (1), f (a), and f (a + h).
Packaging. Consider constructing an open box from a rectangular piece of cardboard 16 inches
long and 10 inches wide by cutting away identical squares from each corner and folding up the
resulting flaps. Find an expression that gives the volume V of the box as a function of x, i.e., find
the function V (x). What is the domain of the function V (x)?
Solution. Let �(x), w(x), and h(x) represent the respective length, width, and height of the box.
Observe that we have V (x) = �(x) · w(x) · h(x) = (16 − 2x)(10 − 2x)x. Each of the �(x), w(x),
and h(x) must be positive, hence we must simultaneously satisfy the inequalities 0 < x < 8,
0 < x < 5, and x > 0. Combining these, we find that DV = {x : 0 < x < 5} = (0, 5). �

Unless otherwise stated, the domain of a function is the set of all real numbers which correspond
to a real output. In particular, we must omit from the domain of a function any values such that
• division by 0 occurs, or

• square root of a negative number occurs.

Domain Restrictions. Find the domain of each function of the following functions.

(a.) f (x) = x − 1
(b.) g(x) =
x2 − 4
(c.) h(x) = x2 + 3

2.1.2 Graphs
Definition. We define the graph of a function f to be the set of all points (x, y) in R2 such that
x is in the domain of f and y = f (x) is in the range of f.
We may evaluate a function by simply looking at its graph.

Evaluating Functions Graphically. Draw a generic function; label a point a in the domain;
and find the corresponding point b = f (a).

Piecewise Defined Functions. Graph the function

x if x ≥ 0
f (x) = |x| = .
−x if x < 0

Vertical Line Test. A curve y = f (x) in R2 is a function if and only if each vertical line x = a
intersects y = f (x) in at most one point.

Using the Vertical Line Test. Draw a few graphs, and show that some are functions and
some are not by applying the vertical line test.

2.2 The Algebra of Functions

2.2.1 The Sum, Difference, Product, and Quotient of Functions
Government Budget Surplus. Consider two functions: the revenue function R(t) and the ex-
penditure function E(t). Draw some curves, and then, draw their (approximate) difference. Ob-
serve that the function S(t) = (R − E)(t) = R(t) − E(t) gives the surplus.

Definition. Let f and g be functions with respective domains Df and Dg . We have the following
functions with domain Df ∩ Dg = {x : x ∈ Df and x ∈ Dg }.

(f + g)(x) = f (x) + g(x) (The sum of functions is a function.)

(f − g)(x) = f (x) − g(x) (The difference of functions is a function.)
(f · g)(x) = f (x) · g(x) (The product of functions is a function.)

Furthermore, the quotient of the functions f and g is a function with domain Df ∩ Dg∗ , where
Dg∗ = {x ∈ Dg : g(x) �= 0}.
� �
f f (x)
(x) = (The quotient of functions is a function.)
g g(x)
We note that the symbol ∩ is referred to as the “set intersection” symbol. Put in layman’s terms,
the set intersection A ∩ B denotes everything that is in both of the sets A and B.

Creating New Functions from Old. Let f (x) = x + 1 and g(x) = 2x + 1. Find the sum,
difference, product, and quotient of these functions, and state each new function’s domain.

2.2.2 Composition of Functions

Other than the above operations, there is one other important operation for combining two old
functions into one new function. Consider first placing a value x into one function and taking
that output as the input of another function. We refer to this as composition of functions.
Definition. Let f and g be functions. We define the composition of f and g to be the function
(g ◦ f )(x) = g(f (x)), read “g of f of x.” Observe that the domain of g ◦ f is the set of all x in the
domain of f such that f (x) lies in the domain of g, i.e., Dg ◦f = {x : x ∈ Df and f (x) ∈ Dg }.

Composing Functions. Let f (x) = x + 1 and g(x) = x2 − 3. Find the composition of functions
f ◦ g and g ◦ f, and state the domain of each of the new functions.

2.3 Functions and Mathematical Models

2.3.1 Polynomial Functions
Our main thrust in this course is to demonstrate how mathematics — particularly calculus — can
be applied to solve real-world problems. Before we are able to use mathematics to solve a real-
life example, however, we must first develop a mathematical model. Often, a mathematical model
can be constructed from “nice” functions known as polynomials.
Definition. We say that a function f (x) is a polynomial of degree n if we can write

f (x) = an xn + an−1 xn−1 + · · · + a2 x2 + a1 x + a0 ,

where n is a non-negative whole number, the a0 , a1 , a2 , . . . , an−1 , an are real numbers called coeffi-
cients, and the leading coefficient an �= 0.
We have tacitly dealt with polynomials already. For instance, on this page alone, we have seen
polynomials f (x) = 2x + 1 and g(x) = x√ + 3. Even some of the craziest functions that we can
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imagine — say h(x) = 2x − 3x + 2 x + 2x2 − π — are polynomials. Lower-degree polynomials
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are so common that we have given them special names.

• Polynomials of degree n = 0 and n = 1 are called linear functions (or lines), e.g., f (x) =
mx + b. If m = 0, then f (x) = b is the horizontal line at b.

• Polynomials of degree n = 2 are called quadratic functions (or parabolas), e.g., f (x) =
ax2 + bx + c, a �= 0. Recall that the parabola opens upward if a > 0 and downward if a < 0.