Elementary questions about functions, notation, properties, and operations such as function composition.

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11
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12answers
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A function such that $f(f(n)) = -n$?

This question from somebody's job interview made me puzzled: Design a function f, such that: $f(f(n)) = -n$ , where n is a 32 bit signed integer; you can't use complex numbers arithmetic. If you ...
11
votes
2answers
2k views

Why the name 'FACTORIAL'?

Factorial is defined as $n! = n(n-1)(n-2)\cdots 1$ But why mathematicians named this thing as FACTORIAL? Has it got something to do with factors?
11
votes
5answers
614 views

(Non)Existence of limits

When we say that a limit of a function does not exist in $\mathbb{R}$ (or some metric space) does it make sense to say that it might exist somewhere else? [I am trying to think along lines of ...
11
votes
5answers
1k views

Exponential Function as an Infinite Product

Is there any representation of the exponential function as an infinite product (where there is no maximal factor in the series of terms which essentially contributes)? I.e. $$\mathrm ...
11
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4answers
13k views

Prove $\sin x$ is uniformly continuous on $\mathbb R$

How do I prove $\sin x$ is uniformly continuous on $\mathbb R$ with delta and epsilon? I proved geometrically that $\sin x<x$ and thus, $$|f(x_1)-f(x_2)|=|\sin x_1 - \sin x_2|\le|\sin x_1|+|\sin ...
11
votes
4answers
388 views

$f(16x)=16f(x) $ and $ f$ is continuous

$f: \mathbb{R}\rightarrow \mathbb{R}$ is a continuous function such that $f(16x)=16f(x)$ for every real $x$. Should it be $f(x)=ax$? How can I prove that?
11
votes
2answers
2k views

Are there other kinds of bump functions than $e^\frac1{x^2-1}$?

I've only seen the bump function $e^\frac1{x^2-1}$ so far. Where could I find examples of functions $C^∞$ on $\mathbb{R}$ that are zero everywhere except on $(-1,1)$? Are there others that do not ...
11
votes
4answers
334 views

Find all functions f such that $f(f(x))=f(x)+x$

Let $f:\mathbb{R}\to\mathbb{R}$ be a function such that $f(f(x))=f(x)+x, \forall x\in\mathbb{R}$. Find all such functions $f$. Clearly, $f$ is an "one-to-one function". I have tried setting ...
11
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4answers
3k views

When do two functions become equal?

When do two functions become equal? I have stumbled over this definition of equality of functions in elementary real analysis. Let $X$ and $Y$ be two sets. Let $f:X\rightarrow Y$ and ...
11
votes
2answers
313 views

Let $f :\mathbb{R}→ \mathbb{R}$ be a function such that $f^2$ and $f^3$ are differentiable. Is $f$ differentiable?

Let $f :\mathbb{R}→ \mathbb{R}$ be a function such that $f^2$ and $f^3$ are differentiable. Is $f$ differentiable? Similarly, let $f :\mathbb{C}→ \mathbb{C}$ be a function such that $f^2$ and $f^3$ ...
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5answers
1k views

Can this function be rewritten to improve numerical stability?

I'm writing a program that needs to evaluate the function $$f(x) = \frac{1 - e^{-ux}}{u}$$ often with small values of $u$ (i.e. $u \ll x$). In the limit $u \to 0$ we have $f(x) = x$ using L'Hôpital's ...
11
votes
1answer
813 views

Who came up with the arrow notation $x \rightarrow y$?

I read that the arrow notation $x \rightarrow y$ was invented in the 20th century. Who introduced it? Each map needs both an explicit domain and an explicit codomain (not just a domain, as in ...
11
votes
2answers
313 views

When is $f^{-1}=1/f\,$?

I seem to remember a nice article that I read many years ago (perhaps in the American Mathematical Monthly) which investigated the question, "Under what conditions on $f:\mathbb{C}\to\mathbb{C}$ is ...
11
votes
2answers
221 views

Can every real function be represented as two shifted even functions?

I saw the theorem that every function can be represented as the sum of and even and odd function, and this made me wonder: can every function from the reals to the reals, defined on all the reals, be ...
11
votes
3answers
246 views

What function could describe this GIF animation?

I found this image on Beautiful Mathematical GIFs Will Mesmerize You and this GIF really caught my attention. From what I see, it's a 2D circle morphing into the 3D sphere. What function could ...
11
votes
4answers
2k views

Difference between a function and a graph of a function?

Formally, I learned that a function $f: X \to Y$ is a subset $f \subset X \times Y$ subject to the condition that for every $x \in X$, there is exactly one $y \in Y$ such that $(x, y) \in f$. We write ...
11
votes
3answers
7k views

How $x^4$ is strictly convex function?

I hear that $f(x)=x^4$ is a strictly convex function $\forall x \in \Re$. However, strict convexity condition is that the second derivative should be positive $\forall x \in \Re$. For the mentioned ...
11
votes
1answer
170 views

Differentiation of a function $f:\mathbb{Q}\to \mathbb{Q}$(Rational Calculus)

Assume that $f:\mathbb{Q}\to \mathbb{Q}$ is given such that $\forall a\in \mathbb{Q}$ the following limit, exists \begin{equation} \lim_{x\to a} \frac{f(x)-f(a)}{x-a}\in \mathbb{R} ...
11
votes
5answers
3k views

Why aren't the graphs of $\sin(\arcsin x)$ and $\arcsin(\sin x)$ the same?

(source for above graph) (source for above graph) Both functions simplify to x, but why aren't the graphs the same?
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4answers
1k views

What was the notation for functions before Euler?

According to the Wikipedia article, [Euler] introduced much of the modern mathematical terminology and notation, particularly for mathematical analysis, such as the notion of a mathematical ...
11
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2answers
87 views

Does there exist a function $g\in \mathbb{N}^\mathbb{N}$ s.t. $\{f\mid f\circ f=g\}$ is not empty and finite?

I'm struggling with this question and can't figure it out. The question was too long for the title so I will write it once more: Does there exist a function $g : \mathbb{N} \longrightarrow ...
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votes
2answers
1k views

What exactly is the fixed field of the map $t\mapsto t+1$ in $k(t)$?

Suppose $k$ is a field, and $k(t)$ is the rational function field. If $f(t)=P(t)/Q(t)$ for some polynomials $P(t)$ and $Q(t)\neq 0$, then the map $t\mapsto t+1$ sends $f(t)$ to $f(t+1)$. So the ...
11
votes
3answers
1k views

What happens to a function when it is undefined?

If I have the function $$f(x) = {x^2 - 2 \over x + \sqrt 2}$$ this is undefined for $x = -\sqrt 2$, am I correct? Since the denominator would be zero. But the numerator is a difference of ...
11
votes
1answer
405 views

Math Olympiad - pre-periodic function

Let $c \in \mathbb{Q}$, $f(x)=x^2+c$. Define $$f^{0}(x)=x, \ \ f^{n+1}(x)=f(f^{n}(x)), \ \forall n \in \mathbb{N}$$ We say that $x \in \mathbb{R}$ is pre-periodic if $\{f^{n}(x), n \in \mathbb{N}\}$ ...
11
votes
1answer
138 views

How do I construct a function $\operatorname{sog}$ such that $\operatorname{sog}\circ\operatorname{sog} = \log$?

Imagine a real-valued semilog function $\DeclareMathOperator{\sog}{sog}\sog$ with the property that $$\sog(\sog(x)) = \log(x)$$ for all real $x>0$. My questions: Does such a function ...
11
votes
1answer
122 views

$\max(a,b)=\frac{a+b+|a-b|}{2}$ generalization

I am aware of an occasionally handy identity: $$\max(a,b)=\frac{a+b+|a-b|}{2}$$ However, I have found I'm unable to come up with a nice similar form for $\max(a,b,c)$. Of course I could always use ...
11
votes
1answer
346 views

Additive functional inequality

The function $f:R_+\to R_+$ is continuously differentiable and increasing. Also, $f(0)=0$ and $f(\infty)=\infty$. Continuity and differentiability of higher orders can be assumed if necessary. ...
11
votes
1answer
1k views

Continuous and Open maps

I was reading through Munkres' Topology and in the section on Continuous Functions, these three statements came up: If a function is continuous, open, and bijective, it is a homeomorphism. If a ...
11
votes
1answer
178 views

If every point is a local maximum, is it a step function?

What are the functions $f:\mathbb R\to\mathbb R$ such that every point is a local maximum? Certainly, $f(x)=c$ works for every constant. So does $\lfloor x\rfloor$, as does ...
11
votes
3answers
137 views

If $B(x+y)-B(x)-B(y)\in\mathbb Z$ can we add an integer function to $B$ to make it additive?

Given a function $B:\mathbb R\to\mathbb R$ satisfying $B(x+y)-B(x)-B(y)\in\mathbb Z$ for all real numbers $x$ and $y$, is there a function $Z:\mathbb R\to\mathbb Z$ such that $B+Z$ is an additive ...
10
votes
8answers
353 views

Why is it important to have a discrepancy between image and codomain?

A function $f:\mathbb{R}\rightarrow \mathbb{R}$ given by $f(x)=x^2$ has $\mathbb{R}_{\geq0}$ as its image and $\mathbb{R}$ as its codomain. What's the need for this discrepancy? Why don't we just ...
10
votes
6answers
7k views

Max Min of function less than Min max of function

I can't understand why max min of a function is less than equal to min max of that function i.e Why $$\underset{x}{\text{max}}\:\underset{y}{\text{min}} f(x,y) \leq ...
10
votes
5answers
1k views

What does orthogonality mean in function space?

The functions $x$ and $x^2 - {1\over2}$ are orthogonal with respect to their inner product on the interval [0, 1]. However, when you graph the two functions, they do not look orthogonal at all. So ...
10
votes
2answers
1k views

Why use the derivative and not the symmetric derivative?

The symmetric derivative is always equal to the regular derivative when it exists, and still isn't defined for jump discontinuities. From what I can tell the only differences are that a symmetric ...
10
votes
5answers
276 views

function identity: does $\frac{x^2-4}{x-2} = x+2$

Can you tell me how to resolve the (apparent) paradox that the function: $$f(x) = \frac{x^2-4}{x-2}$$ is identical to the function: $$g(x) = x+2$$ because by factoring the numerator: $$f(x) = ...
10
votes
4answers
606 views

A continuous function defined on an interval can have a mean value. What about a median?

A function can have an average value $$\frac{1}{b-a}\int_{a}^{b} f(x)dx$$ Can a continuous function have a median? How would that be computed?
10
votes
3answers
189 views

How many different functions we have by only use of $\min$ and $\max$?

We can making many functions of three variable by only use and combining of $\min$ and $\max$ functions. But many of them are not different , like : ...
10
votes
2answers
286 views

Does a smooth “transition function” with bounded derivatives exist?

Does there exist a function $f: \mathbb{R} \to \mathbb{R}$ having the following properties? $f(x) = 0$ for all $x \le 0$. $f(x) = 1$ for all $x \ge 1$. For $0 < x < 1$, $f$ is strictly ...
10
votes
2answers
1k views

Why $f(x) = \sqrt{x}$ is a function?

Why $f(x) = \sqrt{x}$ is a function (as I found in my textbook) since for example the square root of $25$ has two different outputs ($-5,5$) and a function is defined as "A function from A to B is a ...
10
votes
2answers
6k views

Ease-in-out function

I am trying to create a nice ease-in-out function that given values from 0 - 1 produces an output of 0 - 1 which accelerates slowly up to full speed then slows down again as it nears 1. I currently ...
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votes
4answers
1k views

Proof of linear independence of $e^{at}$

Given $\left\{ a_{i}\right\} _{i=0}^{n}\subset\mathbb{R}$ which are distinct, show that $\left\{ e^{a_{i}t}\right\} \subset C^{0}\left(\mathbb{R},\mathbb{R}\right)$, form a linearly independent set ...
10
votes
4answers
198 views

A function satisfying $f(\frac1{x+1})\cdot x=f(x)-1$ and $f(1)=1$?

$f:[0,\infty)\to\mathbb{R}$ is a continuous function which satisfies $f(1)=1$ and: $$f(\frac1{x+1})\cdot x=f(x)-1$$ Does there exist such a function, if they do, are there infinitely many? And is ...
10
votes
3answers
129 views

How can you factor $x^4-6x^3+8x^2+2x-1?$

The original question is: Solve this equation for x: $$(x^2-3x+1)^2-3(x^2-3x+1)+1=x$$ I expanded and simplified it to get $$x^4-6x^3+8x^2+2x-1=0$$ Since neither -1 nor 1 are factors, it appears ...
10
votes
3answers
149 views

Regularity of the function $|x|^ax$

Assuming $x \in \mathbb{R}$, what can we say about the regularity class ($C, C^1, C^2, ..., \text{or}\ C^\infty$) of the following function (also with respect to $a \in \mathbb{R}$)? $$f(x)=|x|^ax$$
10
votes
4answers
319 views

If $f(3x)=f(x)$ and $f$ is continuous, show that $f(x)$ is a constant function.

If $f(x)$ is a continuous function such that $f(3x)=f(x)$ and the domain of $f$ is all non-negative real numbers. Prove that $f$ is a constant function. What I did: ...
10
votes
2answers
363 views

Functions satisfying $f(m+f(n)) = f(m) + n$

I am a real newbie when it comes to funtions, and I don't understand what is supposed to happen or what I'm supposed to find when I get given an olympiad type question concerning functions. Could you ...
10
votes
1answer
915 views

What does it mean to extend a function?

What does it mean to extend a function? Can someone please give an example? Thanks in advance!
10
votes
4answers
14k views

Find formula from values

Is there any "algorithm" or steps to follow to get a formula from a table of values. Example: Using this values: ...
10
votes
1answer
12k views

“Well defined” function - What does it mean?

What does it mean for a function to be well-defined? I encountered with this term in an excersice asking to check if a linear transformation is well-defined.
10
votes
1answer
147 views

Does $f(x) \in \mathbb{Z}[x]$ irreducible, imply $f(2x)$ also irreducible?

It is well known that $f(x+a) \in \mathbb{Z}[x]$ is irreducible when $f(x)$ is irreducible. I was wondering whether $f(2x)$ and in general whether $f(nx)$ is irreducible as well. Though it is ...