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Derivative

History And Usefulness, The Basic Concept, A Concrete Example

In mathematics, the derivative is the exact rate at which one quantity changes with respect to another. Geometrically, the derivative is the slope of a curve at a point on the curve, defined as the slope of the tangent to the curve at the same point. The process of finding the derivative is called differentiation. This process is central to the branch of mathematics called differential calculus.

Figure 1. Illustration by Hans & Cassidy. Courtesy of Gale Group.

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