The derivative of a function is a second function showing the rate of change of the dependent variable compared to the independent variable. It can be thought of as a graph of the slope of the function from which it is derived. The process of finding a derivative is called differentiation. The derivative of y with respect to x (denoted as y') is equal to

$ y' = \lim _{\Delta x \rightarrow 0} \frac{\Delta y}{\Delta x} = \frac{\mathrm{d}x}{\mathrm{d}y}\, $

The inverse of differentiation is integration.

Multivariable extensionsEdit

For multivariable scalar fields, either a gradient (a vector field representing the direction of greatest change) or directional derivative (a scalar representing the rate of change in a particular direction) can be taken. The two equivalents to derivation over a scalar field are divergence and curl.

Derivatives in physicsEdit

$ x'(t) = v(t) $
$ v'(t) = a(t) $
$ W'(d) = F(d) $
$ W'(t) = P(t) $
$ \nabla \cdot V = \vec{E} $

See alsoEdit