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Example:Find Derivative using First Principle

 Post to:   Explanation:

Derivative

In calculus, a branch of mathematics, the derivative is a measure of how a function changes as its input changes. Loosely speaking, a derivative can be thought of as how much one quantity is changing in response to changes in some other quantity; for example, the derivative of the position of a moving object with respect to time is the object's instantaneous velocity (conversely, integrating a car's velocity over time yields the distance traveled).

The derivative of a function at a chosen input value describes the best linear approximation of the function near that input value. For a real-valued function of a single real variable, the derivative at a point equals the slope of the tangent line to the graph of the function at that point.

The process of finding a derivative is called differentiation.

## Differentiation and the derivative

Differentiation is a method to compute the rate at which a dependent output y changes with respect to the change in the independent input x. This rate of change is called the derivative of y with respect to x. In more precise language, the dependence of y upon x means that y is a function of x. This functional relationship is often denoted y = ƒ(x), where ƒ denotes the function. If x and y are real numbers, and if the graph of y is plotted against x, the derivative measures the slope of this graph at each point.

The simplest case is when y is a linear function of x, meaning that the graph of y against x is a straight line. In this case, y = ƒ(x) = m x + b, for real numbers m and b, and the slope m is given by where the symbol Δ (the uppercase form of the Greek letter Delta) is an abbreviation for "change in."

Definition via difference quotients

Rate of change as a limiting value Figure 1.  The tangent line at (x, ƒ(x))

Figure 2.  The secant to curve y= ƒ(x) determined by points (x, ƒ(x)) and (x+h, ƒ(x+h)) Figure 3. The tangent line as limit of secants

Let ƒ be a real valued function. In classical geometry, the tangent line to the graph of the function ƒ at a real number a was the unique line through the point (a, ƒ (a)) that did not meet the graph of ƒ transversally, meaning that the line did not pass straight through the graph. The derivative of y with respect to x at a is, geometrically, the slope of the tangent line to the graph of ƒ at a. The slope of the tangent line is very close to the slope of the line through (a, ƒ(a)) and a nearby point on the graph, for example (a + h, ƒ(a + h)). These lines are called secant lines. A value of h close to zero gives a good approximation to the slope of the tangent line, and smaller values (in absolute value) of h will, in general, give better approximations. The slope m of the secant line is the difference between the y values of these points divided by the difference between the x values, that is, This expression is Newton's difference quotient. The derivative is the value of the difference quotient as the secant lines approach the tangent line. Formally, the derivative of the function ƒ at a is the limit of the difference quotient as h approaches zero, if this limit exists. If the limit exists, then ƒ is differentiable at a. Here ƒ′ (a) is one of several common notations for the derivative.

(Our solved example in mathguru.com uses this concept)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Derivative