Talk:Linear function

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 Field: Algebra

(Guidance from :fr:)[edit]

I found a different definition for a linear function in the French Wikipedia. It says that a linear function (fonction linéaire) is a function of the form f(x)=ax (necessarily passes through the zero).

I made further research and I resume here my conclusion on the subject:

A linear function is a function that respects both of the following conditions:

It must be additive f(X1+X2)=f(X1)+f(X2)


it must be homogenous f(aX)= a f(x).
The content between this box and the next was inserted by an IP, and by SineBot, within another IP's contrib:

Another equation is y=m(x)+b —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 04:15, 4 May 2009 (UTC)

End of material inserted in another IP's contrib

the formula you give as a representation of a linear function: f(x)=mx+c is neither additive nor homogenous, hence it is not a linear function although it has a graphical representation of a line.

Arie Finkelstein

— Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 15:07 & 16:25, 15 & 08:05, 17 February 2005‎

—Preceding unsigned comment added by (talkcontribs)

Hey, what the h*** does homogenous mean? — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 23:55, 10 February 2012 (UTC)

Cleaned up[edit]

So, I stumbled accross this and found it to be rather nasty and hence cleaned it up. The part about definitions being disputed was just plain wrong. The article could use more work, it doesn't really take a look at the mechanics of geometric linear functions very deeply, nd kind of sounds like something from a first year algebra textbook. We should be able to do a lot better than this, we have a lot of great math people on wikipedia. --Matthew 17:23, 14 February 2006 (UTC)

Linear function vs Affine[edit]

Most of the article about linear functions is actually about affine functions. There should be a page on affine functions or first order polynomials and this page should point to those. Somewhere on the page about linear functions it should contain the definition of a linear function: . —The preceding unsigned comment was added by Dsignoff (talkcontribs) 05:25, 10 February 2007 (UTC).

I am finding the same thing. The distinction between linear functions and affine functions is a very important one if you are looking at solving problems with linear algebra.

As an example, if you model a network of electrical resistors with linear functions, you can relatively easily solve for current through them using matrices and linear algebra. If you assume that they are affine functions then the problem becomes much more difficult. Things like lightbulbs and diodes might require affine functions. Marcusyoder (talk) 16:29, 26 August 2012 (UTC)

Relationship between two functions[edit]

Take the following example: Mary has $87 saved, and earns $3.25 per week. Jane has $89 saved, and earns $3 per week. I know there's a relationship between the function 87+3.25x and the function 89+3x, but how do I describe it (besides saying that both functions have a value of 113 when x=8? — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 23:52, 10 February 2012 (UTC)


   I suppose the core problem in the accompanying article is simply neglect: too few editors with higher-math knowledge have cleaned up after those who don't realize that their own level of understanding, while it can be part of good and worthwhile articles, is not complete; in some cases, good material may have been discarded as obvious nonsense, by editors who are merely unacquainted with advanced math extensions and generalizations of what they've learned, when we need to cover interrelated topics at both (or more than two) levels.
   Compounding that, the structure is fundamentally unsound, and at several levels. Linear function is trying to cover two distinct (tho, yes, related) topics, but says no more about why they appear in the same article than "two different but related concepts". Here's how WP has to deal with such a situation: one article on each of the two (initially, two existing sections become the core of two articles), and a Dab page (or HatNote Dab on one of the articles) to effect navigation to the desired topic/concept's article, since many users don't know how to tell them apart. Once someone can offer the substance behind "related concepts" (instead of just that generic slogan), an article like "Linear-function concepts in mathematics" may be justified; it would discuss the bonds between the two math concepts that are reflected in using (presumably generally in different contexts) the same name for both, and the essential distinctions that render a single concept inadequate. Barring controversy, i will split the accompanying article 4 ways:

  1. Linear function (disambiguation) (a first line "Linear function may refer to:"; two sub-sentence entries, probably simply 2 links without elaboration,
  2. Linear function (analytic geometry),
  3. Linear function (vector spaces), and
  4. a pathetic stub for Linear-function concepts in mathematics or Linear-function concepts

That much i can do alone, tho collaboration is desirable.
   That won't necessarily close the subject: At leastLinearity (which probably needs multiple articles, a Dab, and at least one other umbrella article) must be carefully considered in light of these.
--Jerzyt 09:56, 23 March 2012 (UTC)

Thanks for your help Jerzy. I took out a lot of the stuff that doesn't actually apply to linear functions. The article is pretty thin right now but at least it isn't wrong anymore. A lot of schools gloss over the actual definition of linearity, but that doesn't mean Wikipedia should too. When I started working on this I read your comment but I didn't realize you had made it so recently. If there is a disambiguation page I think it should note that y = mx + b is not strictly a linear function. The other articles on linear functions also need cleanup. Marcusyoder (talk) 17:02, 26 August 2012 (UTC)

Though the article is now clear on two distinct concepts for which the phrase "linear function" is used, having them both in the same article violates what I thought was a WP:MOS guideline, but I'm having difficulty locating the guideline. Nevertheless, this article simply does not work adequately for the link linear function, since in the context of the link, invariably only one of the two meanings is intended, and landing here will confuse the reader by forcing them to grapple with the other meaning to disambiguate the intended meaning. —Quondum 15:01, 13 March 2014 (UTC)

I am confused?[edit]

The beginning of this article introduces the calculus version of a linear function as a polynomial of degree one or zero. But we were told back in High School Algebra that x = 5 is not a function, although it is a polynomial that fits in this description. Are linear equations the same thing as linear functions or are people confusing these vocabulary terms? And I thought that the first definition of a linear function contradicts the Calculus definition of a linear function since for example: if f(x) = 3x + 5 then since f(u+v) does not equal (3u+5)+(3v+5) so the function is not linear and what about transforms? — Preceding unsigned comment added by 2601:E:CE80:543:1976:B4B1:C2E7:D594 (talk) 02:02, 6 July 2014 (UTC)

The two uses of the term "linear function" are quite distinct, and you should take care not to confuse them. And presumably you meant to write f(x) = 5, which is a function: the constant function. The first definition is the calculus definition, but you seem to be thinking of the second definition. Can you suggest a way of presenting this which makes the distinction between the two uses of the term linear function clearer? —Quondum 02:44, 6 July 2014 (UTC)