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This section describes how to analyze a simple function to find its asymptotes, maximum, minimum, and inflection point. The section covers the following topics:

The function in this example is

$$f(x)=\frac{3{x}^{2}+6x-1}{{x}^{2}+x-3}.$$

To create the function, enter the following commands:

syms x num = 3*x^2 + 6*x -1; denom = x^2 + x - 3; f = num/denom

f = (3*x^2 + 6*x - 1)/(x^2 + x - 3)

Plot the function `f`

by using `fplot`

.
The `fplot`

function automatically shows horizontal
asymptotes. Prior to R2016a, use `ezplot`

instead
of `fplot`

.

fplot(f)

To mathematically find the horizontal asymptote of `f`

,
take the limit of `f`

as `x`

approaches
positive infinity:

limit(f, inf)

ans = 3

The limit as *x* approaches negative infinity
is also 3. This result means the line *y* = 3 is
a horizontal asymptote to `f`

.

To find the vertical asymptotes of `f`

, set
the denominator equal to 0 and solve by entering the following command:

roots = solve(denom)

This returns the solutions to $${x}^{2}+x-3=0$$:

roots = - 13^(1/2)/2 - 1/2 13^(1/2)/2 - 1/2

This tells you that vertical asymptotes are the lines

$$x=\frac{-1+\sqrt{13}}{2},$$

and

$$x=\frac{-1-\sqrt{13}}{2}.$$

You can see from the graph that `f`

has a local
maximum between the points *x* = –2 and *x* =
0, and might have a local minimum between *x* = –6
and *x* = –2. To find the *x*-coordinates
of the maximum and minimum, first take the derivative of `f`

:

f1 = diff(f)

f1 = (6*x + 6)/(x^2 + x - 3) - ((2*x + 1)*(3*x^2 + 6*x - 1))/(x^2 + x - 3)^2

To simplify this expression, enter

f1 = simplify(f1)

f1 = -(3*x^2 + 16*x + 17)/(x^2 + x - 3)^2

You can display `f1`

in a more readable form
by entering

pretty(f1)

which returns

2 3 x + 16 x + 17 - ---------------- 2 2 (x + x - 3)

Next, set the derivative equal to 0 and solve for the critical points:

crit_pts = solve(f1)

crit_pts = - 13^(1/2)/3 - 8/3 13^(1/2)/3 - 8/3

It is clear from the graph of `f`

that it has
a local minimum at

$${x}_{1}=\frac{-8-\sqrt{13}}{3},$$

and a local maximum at

$${x}_{2}=\frac{-8+\sqrt{13}}{3}.$$

MATLAB^{®} does not always return the roots to an equation
in the same order.

You can plot the maximum and minimum of `f`

with
the following commands:

fplot(f) hold on plot(double(crit_pts), double(subs(f,crit_pts)),'ro') title('Maximum and Minimum of f') text(-4.8,5.5,'Local minimum') text(-2,4,'Local maximum') hold off

To find the inflection point of `f`

, set the
second derivative equal to 0 and solve.

f2 = diff(f1); inflec_pt = solve(f2,'MaxDegree',3); double(inflec_pt)

This returns

ans = -5.2635 + 0.0000i -1.3682 - 0.8511i -1.3682 + 0.8511i

In this example, only the first entry is a real number, so this is the only inflection point. (Note that in other examples, the real solutions might not be the first entries of the answer.) Since you are only interested in the real solutions, you can discard the last two entries, which are complex numbers.

inflec_pt = inflec_pt(1);

To see the symbolic expression for the inflection point, enter

pretty(simplify(inflec_pt))

2/3 1/3 1/3 2/3 1/3 1/3 2 13 (13 - 3 sqrt(13)) 2 13 (3 sqrt(13) + 13) 8 - ------------------------------- - ------------------------------- - - 6 6 3

Plot the inflection point. The extra argument, ```
[-9
6]
```

, in `fplot`

extends the range of *x* values
in the plot so that you see the inflection point more clearly, as
shown in the following figure.

fplot(f, [-9 6]) hold on plot(double(inflec_pt), double(subs(f,inflec_pt)),'ro') title('Inflection Point of f') text(-7,1,'Inflection point') hold off

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