## Definition of Derivative

### The derivative is a mathematical concept that represents the rate of change of a function at a specific point

The derivative is a mathematical concept that represents the rate of change of a function at a specific point. Symbolically, the derivative of a function f(x) is denoted as f'(x) or dy/dx.

Geometrically, the derivative can be interpreted as the slope of the tangent line to the graph of a function at a particular point. It indicates how the function is changing at that point – whether it is increasing or decreasing, and the steepness of this change.

Algebraically, the derivative is found using calculus techniques. One common method is to use the limit definition of the derivative, which states that the derivative of a function f(x) at a point x = a is equal to the limit as h approaches 0 of the difference quotient:

f'(a) = lim(h->0) [f(a + h) – f(a)] / h

Simply put, the difference quotient measures the average rate of change of the function over a small interval around a, and taking the limit as the interval shrinks to 0 yields the instantaneous rate of change, or the derivative.

The derivative function is often used to find important information about the original function, such as critical points (where the derivative is equal to zero or undefined), extrema (minimum or maximum values), and concavity (the shape of the graph).

Understanding derivatives is crucial in many fields of mathematics and science, as it provides a powerful tool for analyzing and modeling changes in quantities over time. It has applications in physics, economics, engineering, and many other areas.

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