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Here are some instructions for a number cruncher machine:

a) Debbie starts with the number p 2. Work through the number cruncher to
show that she should get an answer q 20. Show all the steps of your working.
b) Arthur cant remember what number he started with, but he did get the
answer q 32. What number did he start with?
c) Alison got instructions 2 and 3 the wrong way round. She ended up with
q 35. What number should she have ended up with?
Instruction 1: Start with a number p
Instruction 2: Add 3 to the number
Instruction 3: Multiply the number by 4
Instruction 4: Stop. Write down the answer, q
Functions and function notation
CHAPTER 27
In this chapter you will learn how to:
use function notation to describe simple functions (mappings)
find the range of a function, for a given domain
find the inverse of a given function
work with composite functions.
You will also be challenged to:
investigate the Greek alphabet.
Starter: Number crunchers
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Chapter 27: Functions and function notation
498
27.1 Introducing functions and function notation
Consider the following number machine:
For any given value of the input number, the instructions tell you to multiply
that number by 2 first, and then add 5, to obtain the output number. If the input
number is x, then the output number is 2x 5.
This number machine is an example of a function, that is, a process that takes
one number and turns it into (maps it to) another one. In this case, x is mapped
to 2x 5.
Functions are often given names such as f, g, h and so on. The rule for the
above function could be written as:
f(x) 2x 5
Sometimes an arrow is used instead, like this:
f : x 2x 5
EXAMPLE
a) Write this number machine as a function using the notation f : x
b) Write this number machine as a function using the notation g(x)
c) Work out the values of:
(i) g(10) (ii) g(2)
SOLUTION
a) If the input is x, then this becomes 4x, then 1 is added, to obtain 4x 1, so
f : x 4x 1
b) If the input is x, then this becomes x 2, then this result is multiplied by 4,
to obtain 4(x 2), so
g(x) 4(x 2)
c) (i) g(10) 4(10 2)
4 8
32
(ii) g(2) 4(2 2)
4 4
16
Input Subtract 2 Multiply by 4 Output
Input Multiply by 4 Add 1 Output
Input Multiply by 2 Add 5 Output
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EXERCISE 27.1
1 a) Write this number machine as a function using the notation f : x
b) Find the values of: (i) f(3) (ii) f(10)
2 a) Write this number machine as a function using the notation g(x)
b) Find the values of: (i) g(7) (ii) g(1)
3 The function f(x) is given by f(x) 2x 7.
Find the values of:
a) f(1) b) f(3) c) f(10)
4 The function g(x) is given by g : x x
2
3.
Find the values of:
a) g(2) b) g(5) c) g(2)
5 The function h(x) is given by h(x)
3x
2
1
.
Find the values of:
a) h(5) b) h(1) c) h(6)
27.2 Domain and range
Look again at the number machine from the previous section:
Supposing the input numbers were to be 1, 2, 3 and 4. Then the corresponding output
numbers would be 7, 9, 11, 13. We could represent this on a mapping diagram:
The set of numbers that provide the input values is called the domain of the
function, in this case, {1, 2, 3, 4}. The corresponding output numbers form the
range set, in this case {7, 9, 11, 13}.
Examination questions will often tell you the domain set for a function, and ask
you to find the range. Sometimes the domain will be a small discrete set of
numbers (for example, {1, 2, 3, 4}), other times it may be an infinite set, such
as all possible numbers on the number line, including fractions and decimals.
These are known as the real numbers.
f(x) 2x 5
1
2
3
4
7
9
11
13
Input Add 5 Multiply by 2 Output
Input Multiply by 2 Add 3 Output
Input Subtract 2 Multiply by 5 Output
27.2 Domain and range
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EXAMPLE
a) The function f(x) 6x 2 has domain {0, 1, 2, 3, 4}. Find the range of f(x).
b) The function g(x) x
2
3 has as its domain all the real numbers. Find the
range of g(x).
SOLUTION
a) Taking each of the values 0, 1, 2, 3, 4 and multiplying by 6, then subtracting
2, we obtain 2, 4, 10, 16 and 22 so the range of f(x) is {2, 4, 10, 16, 22}.
b) The real numbers take positive and negative values, but when squared must
give a positive value (or zero). Thus x
2
takes all real values from 0 upwards,
so the range of x
2
3 takes all real values greater than or equal to 3.
Some functions might lead to arithmetic that cannot be carried out, such as
division by zero, or finding the square root of a negative number. In such cases
it is necessary to restrict the domain, so that the function is properly defined,
that is, some values might need to be excluded from the domain of the function.
EXAMPLE
a) The function f(x) is defined as f : x
x
3
2
, where x is a real number.
Which real number must be excluded from the domain of the function f(x)?
b) The function g(x) is defined as g : x x 4 , where x is a real number.
Which real numbers must be excluded from the domain of the function g(x)?
SOLUTION
a) To avoid division by zero, x 2 must not be zero, so x 2 must be
excluded from the domain of f(x).
b) To avoid square rooting a negative number, x 4 must be 0 or positive, so
x must be at least 4. Thus all real numbers less than 4 must be excluded
from the domain of g(x).
EXERCISE 27.2
1 The function f(x) 2x 1 has domain {1, 2, 3, 4}. Find the range of f(x).
2 The function g(x)
1
x
2
has domain {1, 2, 3, 4}. Find the range of g(x).
3 The function h(x) 5 x has domain {0, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5}. Find the range of h(x).
4 The function f(x) 10x 5 has domain {1, 0, 1, 2}. Find the range of f(x).
5 The function g(x) 2(x 3) has domain {0, 2, 4, 6, 8}. Find the range of g(x).
6 The function h(x) x
2
1 has domain {1, 0, 1, 2, 3, 4}. Find the range of h(x).
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7 State the value of x that must be excluded from the domain of the function f(x)
x
1

6
1
.
8 State the values of x that must be excluded from the domain of the function g(x) x 3 .
9 The function f(x) x
2
6 has domain all real numbers. Find the range of f(x).
10 The function g(x) 2x 1 has domain {x: 0 x 20}. Find the range of g(x).
27.3 Inverse functions
Here is our number machine again:
This diagram corresponds to the function f(x) 2x 5.
The inverse function f
1
(x) is the function that undoes the effect of the function
f(x), in other words, it returns each member of the range set back to its
corresponding number in the domain.
In this particular case, the inverse function is f
1
(x)
x
2
5
.
There are two good methods for finding inverse functions, namely the reverse
flow diagram method and algebraic rearrangement. Each method is illustrated
in the examples below.
EXAMPLE
The function f(x) is defined as f(x) 4x 1, where x is a real number.
Find the inverse function f
1
(x).
SOLUTION
Here is a number machine, or flow diagram, for the function f(x):
The reverse flow diagram is made by reversing the arrows and replacing each
box with its own inverse process:
To complete the solution, read out the instructions from right to left:
f
1
(x)
x
4
1

Output Subtract 1 Divide by 4 Input


Input Add 1 Multiply by 4 Output
Input Multiply by 2 Add 5 Output
27.2 Domain and range
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EXAMPLE
The function f(x) is defined as f(x) 3x
2
7, where x is a positive real number.
Find the inverse function f
1
(x).
SOLUTION
Begin by writing x f(y), so, in this case
x 3y
2
7
Now rearrange, to make y the subject:
3y
2
7 x
3y
2
x 7
y
2

x
3
7

x
3
7

Thus the inverse function is


f
1
(x)

x
3
7

EXERCISE 27.3
1 The function f(x) is defined as f(x) 4x 3.
a) Find f(5).
b) Find f
1
(35).
2 The function g(x) is defined as g : x 2(x 5).
Find the value of x for which g(x) 24.
3 Given that f(x) 2x 11 find f
1
(x). Write your answer in the form f
1
(x)
4 Given that h : x

1
2

x 3 find h
1
(x). Write your answer in the form h
1
: x
5 The functions p and q are defined as follows:
p : x 3x 1 q : x x
2
1
a) Find: (i) p(4) (ii) q(5)
b) Find: (i) p
1
(5) (ii) q
1
(50)
6 Find the inverse of each of these functions:
a) f(x) 5x 7 b) g(x)
1
x
3 c) h(x)
2
3
x

7 The function p is defined as p : x 2x 7


a) Find the value of p(4).
b) Given that p(a) 1, work out the value of a.
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27.4 Composite functions
503
8 The function f is defined as f : x x
2
1 for all positive values of x.
a) Find the value of p(2).
b) Given that p(n) 50, work out the value of n.
c) Find the inverse function. Write your answer in the form f
1
(x)
9 The function g is defined as g : x 4x 3 for all positive values of x.
a) Find the value of g(3).
b) Solve the equation g(x) 9.
c) Find the inverse function. Write your answer in the form g
1
(x)
10 The function h is defined as h(x)
x
2
5
.
Solve the equation h
1
(x) 6x.
27.4 Composite functions
Suppose you have two different functions, for example f(x) 2x 5 and
g(x) x
2
. The composite function fg(x) is the result of applying one of the
functions to an input value of x, then applying the other function to the result.
You always process the function nearest the (x) bracket first, so fg(x) means
apply g to x first, then apply f to the result.
It is very important to take great care with the order in which the functions are
applied since, in most cases, fg(x) and gf(x) are not the same.
EXAMPLE
The functions f and g are defined over the domain of all the real numbers as
f(x) 2x 5 and g(x) x
2
.
a) Find the values of: (i) fg(3) (ii) gf(3)
b) Express the composite function fg in the form fg(x)
c) Express the composite function gf in the form gf(x)
SOLUTION
a) (i) fg(3) f(9)
2 9 5
18 5
23
b) fg(x) f(x
2
)
2 x
2
5
2x
2
5
c) gf(x) g(2x 5)
(2x 5)
2
Input Apply function f Apply function g Output
(ii) gf(3) g(11)
11
2
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EXERCISE 27.4
1 The functions f and g are defined over the domain of all the real numbers as f(x) 3x 2 and g(x) 5x.
a) Find the values of:
(i) fg(4) (ii) gf(4)
b) Express the composite function fg in the form fg(x)
2 The functions f and g are defined over the domain of all the real numbers as f(x) x
2
1 and g(x) 2x.
a) Find the values of:
(i) fg(2) (ii) gf(5)
b) Express the composite function gf in the form gf : x
3 The functions p and q are defined over the domain of all the real numbers as p(x) 4x 1 and q(x) x 1.
a) Express the composite function pq in the form pq(x)
b) Find the value of a if pq(a) 7.
4 f : x 3x 1 g : x 2x 3
Solve the equation fg(x) g(x).
5 Functions p and q are defined as p : x 2 x q : x 5x 4
Find the values of:
a) p(16) b) q(2) c) p
1
q(1)
6 f : x x
2
g : x 2x 9
Solve the equation gf(x) f(x).
7 f: x 3x 1 g: x x 2
Solve the equation fg(x) g
1
(x).
8 Functions p and q are defined as p : x
2x
5
1
q : x
5x
2
1

a) Find the composite function pq in the form pq(x)


b) Describe the relationship between the functions p and q.
REVIEW EXERCISE 27
1 Here are three functions:
f(x) 5 2x g(x) 10 x h(x)
x
1
3

a) Find:
(i) f(1.5) (ii) g(6) (iii) h(7)
b) (i) Given that f(a) 2, find a.
(ii) Given that g(b) 5, find b.
(iii) Given that h(c) 1, find c.
2 The functions f(x) and g(x) are defined as follows:
f : x
x
1
2
g : x x
2
a) Find:
(i) fg(3) (ii) gf(1.5)
b) Express the composite function fg in the form fg(x)
c) Which value must be excluded from the domain of f(x)?
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Review exercise 27
505
3 The function f is defined as f(x) 3x 1.
a) Find:
(i) f(4) (ii) f
1
(7)
b) Express the function ff(x) in the form ax b, stating the values of a and b.
4 Three functions are defined with their domains as follows:
f(x) 2x 15 with domain {x: x is any real number}
g(x) x
2
with domain {x: x is any real number}
h(x) sin(x) with domain {x: 0 x 90}
a) Find the range of each function.
b) Find the values of x for which f(x) g(x).
c) Find the value of x for which h(x) 0.5.
5 The functions g and h are defined, with their domains, as
g(x) 2x 3 with domain {x: 0 x 6}
h(x) 4x 1 with domain {x: mx n}
a) Find the range of g.
b) The functions g and h have the same range. Find the values of m and n.
6 p(x)
x
x

1
2
q(x)
2
x
x

1
1

a) Find the values of:


(i) pq(4) (ii) pq(2)
b) Express the composite function pq in the form pq(x)
c) Describe the relationship between the functions p and q.
7 f : x
1
x
g : x 4x 1
a) Find the values of:
(i) f(0.2) (ii) fg(

1
2

)
b) Express the inverse function f
1
in the form f
1
: x
c) (i) Express the composite function fg in the form fg : x
(ii) Which value of x must be excluded from the domain of fg?
8 Three functions p, q, r are defined as follows:
p(x) 5x with domain {x: x is a real number such that 0 x 18}
q(x) x
2
6 with domain {x: x is any real number}
r(x) cos(x) with domain {x: 0 x 90}
a) Find the value of rp(12).
b) State the range of the function r.
c) Solve the equation p(x) q(x).
9 f : x 2x 1 g : x
3
x
, x 0
a) Find the values of:
(i) f(3) (ii) fg(6)
b) Express the inverse function f
1
in the form f
1
: x
c) (i) Express the composite function gf in the form gf : x
(ii) What value of x must be excluded from the domain of gf? [Edexcel]
10 f : (x) x
2
g : (x) x 6
Solve the equation fg(x) g
1
(x). [Edexcel]
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Chapter 27: Functions and function notation
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Key points
1 A function is a rule for processing an input to obtain an output value. Functions
may be written in one of two forms:
f(x) 2x 5 f : x 2x 5
2 The set of values that provide the input values for a function forms the domain; the
corresponding set of output values forms the range. For example, if the function
f(x) 2x 5 is defined over the domain {1, 2, 3} then the range will be {7, 9, 11}.
3 Sometimes a value must be excluded from the domain; this is to prevent problems
when evaluating the function. For example, the function f : x
x
5
2
must have
the value x 2 excluded from its domain, otherwise a division by zero would occur.
4 For a function f(x) the inverse function f
1
(x) restores each member of the range
back to its original value in the domain: if f(x) y, then f
1
(y) x. Inverse
functions may be found by algebraic rearrangement or by the reverse flow
diagrams; both methods are described fully in section 27.3.
5 A composite function such as fg(x) is the result of applying the single functions f
and g in succession. Note that the function nearest the (x) bracket is carried out
first, so that fg(x) means apply function g first, then apply function f to the result.
6 In most cases fg(x) and gf(x) are not the same.
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Internet Challenge 27
507
Internet Challenge 27
The Greek Alphabet
The table below gives the Greek alphabet, in order. Unscramble the jumbled words in the statements
alongside each one. Note: the table gives the capital (A) form first, then the lower case ().
alpha Denotes the brightest star in a ACEILLNNOOSTT.
beta Used to describe a trial version of a piece of CEMOPRTU AEFORSTW.
gamma The gamma function is a generalised form of the AACFILORT function.
delta Sometimes used to denote the value of b
2
4ac in the AACDIQRTU AEINOQTU
formula.
epsilon The fifth caste of society in Huxleys ABERV ENW DLORW.
zeta Riemanns zeta function has widespread applications in BEMNRU EHORTY.
eta Eta functions have been defined by the mathematicians DDDEEIKN and
CDEHIILRT.
theta Symbol used in geometry to denote an KNNNOUW AEGLN.
iota Iota is one of the EENSV ELOSVW in the Greek alphabet.
kappa English mathematician JNHO WARBRO (1630 to 1677) published work on the
tangents to the kappa curve, predating the formal development of calculus.
lambda Used by physicists to denote the AEEGHLNTVW of radiation.
mu Denotes the SI prefix micro- , ENO HIILLMNOT of.
nu Used to denote the CEEFNQRUY of a wave.
xi In the system of Greek numerals, xi has a value of ISTXY.
omicron In the system of Greek numerals, omicron has a value of EENSTVY.
pi The ratio of CCCEEEFIMNRRU to ADEEIMRT in a circle.
rho Used in ACIISSSTTT as a measure of correlation between two variables.
sigma Capital sigma denotes the process of AIOMMNSTU, or adding up.
tau Can be used as a symbol for EOQRTU, a measure of rotational force.
upsilon The star upsilon Andromedae is believed to have a AAELNPRTY EMSSTY.
phi Used to denote the LLNU EST in set theory.
chi Statisticians used the chi-squared test to measure DEGNOOSS FO IFT.
psi This letter has given us English words such as CGHLOOPSYY.
omega In astronomy the Omega Nebula is also known as the ANSW or EEHHOORSS.
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