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The Definition of the Derivative - Problem 1

Teacher/Instructor Norm Prokup
Norm Prokup

Cornell University
PhD. in Mathematics

Norm was 4th at the 2004 USA Weightlifting Nationals! He still trains and competes occasionally, despite his busy schedule.

To estimate the derivative of a function, you can use the definition of the derivative: the limit as h goes to 0 of (f(a+h)-f(a))/h. First, evaluate the function at a. Then, you can calculate (f(a+h)-f(a))/h for various values of h, as h gets smaller and smaller. As h gets smaller, it approaches 0 without ever actually being equal to 0. This expression will get closer and closer to some number, which we say is an estimate of the derivative of a function.

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