Let's dip a little into Calculus today, shall we? We'll start with one of the two basic calculations in Calculus: the derivative. The process of finding the derivative of a function is called differentiation. This concept appeared 12 times last year, with a median placement at question # 74.
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The derivative of a function is often described as the instantaneous rate of change of the function. According to Wikipedia (the great treasure of crowdsourced knowledge...): "The derivative of a function y = f(x) of a variable x is a measure of the rate at which the value y of the function changes with respect to the change of the variable x." Confused? You may want to spend some time on Khan Academy's lessons on derivatives. In the meantime, let's try to do some differentiation.
How to Calculate:
The derivative of a variable is the product of:
- the exponent of the variable, and
- the variable taken to the power of (the exponent minus 1).
In other words: