The shape of a graph, part ii, Mathematics

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The Shape of a Graph, Part II : In previous we saw how we could use the first derivative of a function to obtain some information regarding the graph of a function.  In this section we will look at the information which the second derivative of a function can give us a regarding the graph of a function.

Some definitions

Concavity: The main concept which we'll be discussing in this section is concavity.  Concavity is easiest to see with a graph .

899_concave.png

Concave up

A function is concave up if it "opens" up and

Concave down

The function is concave down if it "opens" down. 

Notice that concavity has not anything to do with increasing or decreasing.  Any function can be concave up and either increasing or decreasing.  Likewise, a function can be concave down and either increasing or decreasing.

It's possibly not the best way to described concavity by saying which way it "opens" since it is a somewhat nebulous definition.  Following is the mathematical definition of concavity.


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