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Heaviside Function (Unit Step Function) Exercises

September 29, 2010

1. Write the function

f (t) = (1 − e−t )H(t) + [(k + 1)e−t − 1]H(t − 1)

in piecewise form, where H(t) is the Heaviside function.

2. Write the following piecewise function f (t) in single-line form using the Heaviside function:

0 t < 0,



0 ≤ t < 2,

 t
f (t) =

 3 − t 2 ≤ t < 3,
0 t≥3

3. Write the following piecewise function f (t) in single-line form using the Heaviside function:

sin(bt) t < πb ,



 0 2π

π
b ≤t< b ,

f (t) =


 sin(bt) 2π
b ≤t< b ,

0 3π

t≥

b

4. Let f (t) = sin t with its domain restricted to the interval I = [−π, π]. Show how you can use
the Heaviside function to write |f (t)| (see Figure 1 below).

f (t) |f (t)|

−π π t −π π t

Figure 1: Graphs of f (t) and |f (t)|.

1
1
f (t)

0 1 1 t
2

Figure 2: The hat function f (t).

5. Consider the “hat function” f (t) which is graphed in Figure 2. We can write f (t) in piecewise
form as follows
 0 t < 0,


 2t

0 ≤ t < 1/2,
f (t) =

 2(1 − t) 1/2 ≤ t < 1,
0 t≥1

Use the Heaviside function to write f (t) in single-line form. Then, use this formulation to give
an equation for the function g(t) shown below in Figure 3. Note that once f (t) is in single-
line form, no further Heaviside functions are required to write g(t). Simplify your solution as
much as possible.

g(t)
1

-1 − 12 0 1 1 3 2 t
2 2

Figure 3: The function g(t).

6. The function f (t) = H(t) − [1 − H(−t)] is the continuous extension of an important function
in signal processing. Write f (t) in piecewise form.