# What is the fastest growing function?

• Aug 22nd 2013, 11:51 AM
Paze
What is the fastest growing function?
I heard somewhere that it was $e^x$ but if I compare $e^x$ and $x^{100}$ I get this:

Attachment 29054

With $e^x$ being the one on the far right.

So it seems to me that $x^{100}$ is growing faster...? (has a higher slope).
• Aug 22nd 2013, 06:06 PM
chiro
Re: What is the fastest growing function?
Hey Paze.

If you allow discontinuities then the fastest growing function at a particular point is the delta function at x = 0.

Dirac delta function - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
• Aug 23rd 2013, 01:37 AM
emakarov
Re: What is the fastest growing function?
Quote:

Originally Posted by Paze
So it seems to me that $x^{100}$ is growing faster...? (has a higher slope).

Sure, it grows faster at first. But what happens for $x = 1000$? $e^{1000}>e^{900}=(e^3)^{300} >10^{300}=(10^3)^{100}=1000^{100}$. Then what happens when we increase x by 1? $e^{x+1}/e^x=e$ for all x. In contrast, $(x+1)^{100}/x^{100}\to 1$ as $x\to\infty$ because the numerator and the denominator are polynomials of the same degree with the same leading coefficient 1. For example, $1001^{100}/1000^{100}\approx 1.1. Thus, when x is increased by 1, $e^x$ is always multiplied by $e$, while $x^{100}$ is multiplied by smaller and smaller numbers that tend to 1.

Quote:

Originally Posted by chiro
If you allow discontinuities then the fastest growing function at a particular point is the delta function at x = 0.

This is clever, though delta function is not really a function. Even the piecewise function $\begin{cases}0&x<0\\ 1&x\ge0\end{cases}$ grows infinitely fast at 0.

If we restrict ourselves to continuous functions or to functions on natural numbers, suppose we have a candidate for the fastest-growing function $f(x)$. Then what about $2^{f(x)}$?
• Aug 23rd 2013, 05:39 AM
ebaines
Re: What is the fastest growing function?
I don't believe there is such a thing as "the fastest growing function," as you could always multiply whatever you think is the fastest function by 2 to get one that has a greater slope. However, in thinking about "normal" functions that grow very fast $x^x$ is a pretty good one. Once you get past about x=2.1 it grows much faster than $e^x$. Of course the next logical extension of this is to consider $x^{(x^x)}$, which grows so fast that it exceeds one googol around x= 3.84, then $x^{(x^{(x^x)})}$, etc, etc.

Attachment 29056