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Math Help - The function is defined: why?

  1. #1
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    Lightbulb The function is defined: why?

    I am looking at the graph of function f(x)=(x-1)/(x^2-1) produced by the program: "Graph" created by Ivan Johanson.

    Why is this rational function defined at x = 1 as the limiting value 0.5?

    Is this a convention for it to be defined as the limit? Or am I crazy?
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  2. #2
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    Re: The function is defined: why?

    Well, you are only crazy if you expect a computer to be as good as your brain! What is graphed there is NOT the function you give. What is true is that
    \frac{x-1}{x^2-1}= \frac{x-1}{(x-1)(x+1)}
    which is not defined at x= 1 and so its graph should have no point on the vertical line at x= 1.

    However, for all x except x= 1,
    \frac{x- 1}{(x-1)(x+1)}= \frac{1}{x+1}
    which is defined at x= 1. The computer, calculating values at a finite number of values of x, "misses" the problem at x= 1 and just graphs y= 1/(x+1).
    The graph is wrong.
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  3. #3
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    Re: The function is defined: why?

    Thanks for clarifying.
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