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4

Continuous functions

4.1 Some examples

Consider the functions ( ) = 2 and ( ) = | |

.

Figure 6: The graph of () = 2 (a continuous function).

Figure 7: The graph of () = | |

(a function discontinuous at = 0).

By inspecting the graphs of and , you can notice the following di erence: the graph of can be drawn with

a single line stroke (i.e. without lifting the pencil othe paper), but the graph of cannot be drawn like this (once you arrive at the point = 0, you have to lift the pencil othe paper to continue graphing). In this section we will describe this type of behaviour of functions, known as continuity.

4.2 The continuity of a real-valued function of a real variable

Intuitively, a function is continuous at a point if its graph does not have jumps at that point. The formal de nition

is the following.

Denition 4.1 (Denition of continuity at a point) Let : R R and 0 . We say that is continuous at = 0 if for any   0 there exists ( ) 0 such that

or equivalent 4

|( ) ( 0 ) |  

for all with | 0 |   ( )

lim 0 () = ( 0 )

(5)

(6)

(the limit lim 0 ( ) exists and equals ( 0 ) ). If is not continuous at = 0 , we say that is discontinuous at = 0 . If is continuous at every point 0 we say that is continuous on .

Remark 4.2 Note that unlike the de nition of the limit lim 0 () , the denition of continuity of at = 0 requires to be de ned at 0 (i.e. 0 ).

4 In fact, for the two de nitions to be equivalent we need to assume that 0 is not an isolated point of . If 0 is an isolated point of , then the de nition shows that is continuous at 0 .

21

Example 4.3 Consider the function : = ( 11) (13] {5} R, () = 3 We rst note that 0 = 5 is an isolated point of , so by the denition is continuous at 0 = 5 (every function is continuous at an isolated point). The function is continuous at 0 = 2, because

1 .

3

2 lim () = 2 1 =3= (2)

Similarly, at 0 = 3, we have

lim %3 () =

3

3 1 = 2

3

= (3)

hence is continuous at = 3. Note that at = 1 the function is not continuous (the function is not de ned for = 1). Also, the function is not continuous at = 1 since is not de ned at this point. Another reason for which the function is not continuous at = 1 is that the lim 1 ( ) does not exist (lim %1 ( ) = −∞ and lim &1 ( )=+). The above discussion can be summarized by saying that is continuous on = (11) (13] {5}.

Remark 4.4 As it can be seen from the previous example, if 0 is an isolated point of , then any function : R R is continuous at 0 (i.e. any function is continuous at an isolated point).

Just as in the case of sided limits, we can dene the sided continuity at a point. For example, the notion of continuity from the left is de ned as follows (continuity from the right is de ned similarly):

Denition 4.5 Let : R R and 0 . We say that is continuous from the left at = 0 if for any   0 there exists ( ) 0 such that

|() (0 )|  

for all

with 0 ( ) 0

or equivalent

lim 0 () = ( 0 )

%

(lim % 0 ( ) exists and equals ( 0 ) ).

Remark 4.6 From the de nitions above it is easy to see that is continuous at = 0 if and only if it is continuous both from the left and from the right at = 0 , that is:

(7)

lim 0 ( ) = lim 0 () = ( 0 )

%

&

Example 4.7 It is easy to see that the function : R R dened by

( ) = ½ 11

0

 0

is continuous from the left at 0 = 0, but it is not continuous from the right at 0 = 0 (lim %0 () = (0) = 1 6= 1 = lim &0 () ).

The following shows that the continuity is preserved under the usual operations with functions:

Theorem 4.8 Let  : R R be continuous at = 0 .

a) The functions ± , · and   (provided ( ) 6= 0  ) are also continuous at = 0 ;

b) If () and : R R is continuous at ( 0 ) , then the composition : R R is also

continuous at = 0 .

Proof. The statement follows from the denition with limits of continuity and from the corresponding properties of limits.

Theorem 4.9 (Weierstrass’s boundedness theorem) Let   R be real numbers with  , and let :

[; ] R be a continuous function. Then is bounded on [ ] and attains its bounds. That is, there exist points  [ ] such that for all [ ] we have

(8)

( ) () ( )

22

Proof. Let = inf [] () and = sup [ ] ( ) , and therefore

( ) 

[ ]

In order to show that is bounded we have left to show that and are nite, more precisely we have to show that 6= −∞ and 6= +. If we assume that = −∞, from the denition of = inf [ ] ( ) it follows that there exists a sequence ( ) 1 [ ] such that lim ( ) = = −∞. Since ( ) 1 is a bounded sequence ( [ ], 1), it contains a convergent subsequence ( ) 1 , that is lim = [  ]. Since the function is continuous on [ ], it is continuous in particular at = , so

( ) = lim ( ) = lim ( ) = −∞

which is a contradiction. Therefore cannot equal −∞, and similarly it can be shown that cannot equal + , so we have shown that

is bounded on [  ]. Next, we will show that must attains its bounds on [ ]. Assume that there is no [  ] such that

( ) = = inf [ ] ( ), and therefore ( )   for all [  ] . The function : [  ] R dened by

( ) =

1

( )

[  ]

is continuous on [ ] (the function is continuous on [  ] and 6= on [  ] ) and also ( ) 0 for [ ]

(since ( )   for [  ] ).

By the previous part of the proof it follows that is bounded on [ ], hence 0 = sup [ ] () 0. We

have ( ) =

1

() 0 or equivalent (recall that by assumption ( )   for all [ ])

1

() + 0  

which shows that

1

inf ] () + 0  

[

in contradiction with our assumption that inf [] ( ) = . The contradiction obtained shows that there exists [ ] such that ( ) = . Similarly it can be shown that there exists [  ] such that ( ) = , concluding the proof. The next result shows that a continuous function dened on a closed and bounded interval assumes every intermediate value. This means for example that if the function takes the values 1 and 3, then it must take any value between 1 and 3; it cannot “jump” from 1 to 3 without taking all the intermediate values between them. The precise statement is the following.

Theorem 4.10 (Intermediate Value Theorem) Let   R be real numbers with , and let : [  ] R be a continuous function on [ ]. Then for every between () and ( ) there exists 0 [ ] such that ( 0 ) = .

Proof. Without loss of generality we may assume that () ( ).

If ¡ + ¢ = , then we can choose 0 = +

If ¡ + ¢  , consider 1 = + and 1 = , and if ¡ + ¢  , consider 1 = and 1 = +

Next, if ¡ 1 + 1 ¢ = , we can choose 0 = 1 + 1 and conclude the proof. If ¡ 1 + 1 ¢  , consider 2 = 1 + 1

2

and conclude the proof.

2

2

2

2

2

2

.

2

2

2

and 2 = 1 , and if ¡ 1 + 1

¢ = (concluding the proof), or we can construct a sequence [  ]

of nested intervals (i.e. [ +1  +1 ] [  ] for each 1), such that ( ) () ( ) and = for all 1. Note that ( ) 1 is an increasing and bounded sequence, so it is a convergent sequence. Let 0 = lim be its limit.

2 ,

¢  , consider 2 = 1 and 2 = 1 + 1

2

.

2

Inductively, either at some point ¡ +

2

Since = +

2

by construction, it follows that ( ) 1 is also a convergent sequence, and

= lim

lim

+ lim

→∞

2 = 0 +0= 0 .

23

We have shown that lim = lim = 0 , and since is continuous at = 0 (it is continuous at any point of [  ]), it follows that

( 0 ) = lim ( ) = lim

→∞ .

From the construction of the intervals [  ] we have that ( ) ( ) for any 1, and therefore by passing to the limit with → ∞ we obtain

( 0 ) = lim ( ) lim ( ) = ( 0 )

and therefore (0 ) = for some 0 [ ], concluding the proof.

Example 4.11 Consider the function ( ) = 3 31. Note that ( 1) = 1 0 and (0) = 1 0. Since is continuous on the closed bounded interval [10], by the Intermediate value theorem it follows that there exists [10] such that ( )=0 . In other words, we have shown that the equation 3 31=0 has a solution in the interval [10].

Example 4.12 (Bisection method) Consider again the function ( ) = 3 31. Proceeding as in the proof of the Intermediate value theorem, you can nd the approximation of the solution of the equation 3 31=0, as follows (the method is known as the bisection method). Since ( 1) = 1 0 and (0) = 1 0, you know that the equation ( )=0 has a solution in the interval [10]

Since ¡ 1+0

2

¢ = ( 05) 0 and (0) 0, you know that the equation has a solution in the interval [050].

Since ¡ 05+0 [05025] .

¢ = (0375) 0 and (025) 0, you know that the equation has a solution in the

interval [0375025].

¢ = ( 03125) 0 and (0375) 0, you know that the equation has a solution in the

interval [037503125].

¢ = ( 034375) 0 and (0375) 0, you know that the equation has a solution in

the interval [ 0375034375].

¢ = ( 0359375) 0 and (034375) 0, you know that the equation has a solution

in the interval [0359375034375]. So one of the solutions of the equation 3 31=0 is approximately 03. Few more iterations will give you

a better approximation of the solution (more decimals).

¢ = (025) 0 and ( 05) 0, you know that the equation has a solution in the interval

2

Since ¡ 05025

2

Since ¡ 0375025

2

Since ¡ 0 375 0 3125

2

Since ¡ 0375034375

2

4.2.1 Uniform continuity

In the Denition 4.1 of continuity at a point = 0 , the number = ( ) depends in general on the choice of the point 0 . If however does not depend on the choice of 0 , the continuity of is called “uniform”, in the sense that is the “same” (or uniform) for all points 0 . The formal de nition is as follows:

Denition 4.13 We say that the function : R is uniformly continuous on if for any   0 there exists   0 such that

|() ()|  

for any   with ||   .

We have the following:

Proposition 4.14 If : R is uniformly continuous on then it is continuous on (i.e. it is continuous at any point = 0 ).

Proof. Follows immediately from the denition of uniform continuity by considering = 0 .

The converse of the above theorem is not generally true, as can be checked by considering the function :

(01) R with ( ) =

However, under the additional hypothesis that the domain of is a closed interval, the converse of the above proposition is true:

1 which is continuous on (01) but it is not uniformly continuous on (01) .

Theorem 4.15 If : [ ] R is continuous on the closed interval [  ], then it is uniformly continuous on [ ].

24

Proof. Assuming is not uniformly continuous on [ ], there exists   0 such that for any 0 there exist points   [ ] with ||   such that |() () | .

1 for = 12, we can construct two sequences ( ) 1 and ( ) 1 of points

In particular, choosing = in [  ], such that

| | 1

|( ) ( ) | 

and

= 12

Since ( ) 1 [  ] is a bounded sequence, it contains a convergent subsequence, say lim = [ ].

Since | |

1 for all 1, it follows that ( ) 1 is also a convergent subsequence, and lim = .

Passing to the limit in the inequality |( ) ( )| with → ∞ , and using the continuity of we

obtain

¯

¯

¯ ¯

lim ( ) lim ( ) ¯ ¯ = |( ) () | = 0

¯ ¯

contradicting   0. The contradiction obtained shows that must be uniformly continuous on [  ], concluding the proof. The following property is useful for showing a certain function is uniformly continuous:

Proposition 4.16 If : R R and there exists a constant R such that

| ( ) ( ) | ||

then is uniformly continuous on .

  

Proof. Given   0, we can choose =

such that for any   with | |   we have

|( ) ()| || 

and therefore is uniformly continuous on .

= 

Example 4.17 Using the above proposition we see that the function : [03] R given by ( ) = 3 is uniformly continuous on [03], since there exists = 27 such that

|() ( ) | = ¯ ¯ 3 3 ¯ ¯ = ¯ ¯ () ¡ 2 +  + 2 ¢¯ ¯

³ || 2 + | | + | | 2 ´ ||

¡ 3 2 + 3 · 3+3 2 ¢ ||

= 27 ||

for any   [03]. Also note that since is uniformly continuous on [03], it is also continuous on [03] by Theorem 4.15.

4.3 Continuity of a real-valued function of vector variable

Consider now a function = ( 1  ) of variables (or a function of a vector variable). We dene the continuity of the function at a point 0 similar to the case = 1 (Denition 4.1), as follows.

Denition 4.18 Let : R R and 0 be a point of . We say that is continuous at 0 = ¡ 0  ¢ , if it satises for any   0 there exists () 0 such that

1

0

| ( ) ( ) 0 |  

for all = (1  ) with

k0 k  ( )

or equivalent

lim 0 () = ( 0 )

(lim 0 ( ) exists and equals ( 0 ) ).

25

Example 4.19 Consider the function : R 2 {(00) } R de ned by

( 1  2 ) = (

1 2

2 1 +2

0

2

2 if ( 1  2 ) 6= (00) if ( 1  2 ) = (00)

The function is continuous at the point 0 = ¡ 0  0 ¢ = (00) by the denition with of continuity, because given   0 there exists ()=2  0, such that

1

2

 | ( 1  2 ) −  (0 0)| = = ≤ 

¯ ¯
¯ 0 ¯

¯

¯

¯

1

2 |2 |

1

2 ||||

1

2 2 = 

1 2

2

2 + 2

1

2

¯

¯

¯

1 2

2

¯

¯

2

p |2 2

1

2

|

for any = (1  2 ) R 2 { (00) } with 0 ||0|| = p 2 + 2 2  ()=2. Since for ( 1  2 ) = (00) we have trivially |(00) (00) | = 0  , it follows

()=2such that | ( ) (00)|   for any = ( 1  2 ) R with ||0||   ( ) , which proves the claim.

1

that for any   0 there exists

Similar to the case when = 1, the properties of sum/dierence, product/quotient and composition of continuous functions (Theorem 4.8) also hold in this case.

4.4 Continuity of a vector-valued function of vector variable

Consider the function = (1  ) : R R and let 0 = ¡ 0  ¢ .

1

0

Denition 4.20 We say that is continuous at 0 = ¡ 0  ¢ , if for each = 1 the function : R R is continuous at 0 . We say that the function is continuous on the set if is continuous at any point 0 . We say that the function is uniformly continuous on if for any   0 there exists   0 such that

1

0

||( ) ()||  

for any   with ||||  

(or equivalently, that for each = 1, the function : R R is uniformly continuous on ).

From the above denition, we see that the study of the continuity of a function = (1  ) : R R reduces to the study of the continuity for each of the coordinate functions 1  : R R.

Example

4.21 The function : R 2 R 3 , ( 1  2 ) = (1 + 1 2 + 2 3 + 1 2 ) is continuous at the point 0 =

(00) R 2 , since each of the functions 1 ( 1  2 )= 1+ 1 , 2 (1  2 )= 2+ 2 and 3 ( 1  2 )= 3+ 1 2 are continuous at this point. Replacing the point 0 = (00) by an arbitrary point 0 = ¡ 0  0 ¢ R 2 , we see that the function is continuous at any point 0 R 2 (since 1 , 2 and 3 are continuous at any point 0 R 2 ).

1

2

5 Exercises

1. Study the continuity of the following functions:

(a) : [02] R, ( ) = ½

2   + 1

[01]

(12] ;

(b) : R R, ( ) = ½ sin 01

  6= 0

= 0 ;

(c) : R R, ( ) = ½ 0sin 1

  6= 0

= 0 ;

26

2. Consider the function ( ) = (01) , (01], [1) , (1)?

3. Determine if the function

1 . On which of the following intervals is the function continuous [01) ,

( ) = (

³ 1 + ||

0

+ ´ sin  

1

6= 0 = 0

is continuous from the left / right at = 0. Is continuous at = 0?

4. Use the properties of continuous functions (Theorem 4.8) to determine the intervals on which the following functions are continuous:

(a) ( ) = 9 2 , () = 9 2 , () = 9 2 , () =

(b) ( ) = sin + 2 , () = ln (1 + sin ) , () = sin 1 , ( ) =

3

1

1

92 ;

3

1

1

cos ;

5. Determine the value of the constant such that the following functions are continuous:

(a) : [13] R, ( ) = ½

2 2 + 2  

 + 3

[12] = 0

(b) : R R, ( ) = ½

sin((1))

1

2 + 1

 1 1 ;

(c)

: R R, ( ) = ½ 1cos

2

2

2

  6= 0

= 0

;

: R R, ( ) = ½ (1 + )

3 +2 27 9 9

(d)

(e) : R R, () = ½



1

(f)

: R R, ( ) = ½

sin(2)

2 5+6



0

 0 ;

6= 1 = 1

;

  2

2

;

;

6. Find the constants   R so that the given functions are continuous on R.

 (a)  : R → R,  ( ) = (b)  : R → R,  ( ) = (c)  : R → R,  ( ) =

2 + 

0

1

sin +1 0 

 3 + 2

1



1

3 + 1  0

 + 

0 1 ;

+ 2   1

3 +    0

+ 

0 1

+ 4  1

;

7. Study the uniform continuity of the following functions:

(a)

(b)

: [22] R, () = 2 ;

: R R, ( ) = 2 ;

: (01] R, () = cos

1 ;

(c)

Hint: a) use the fact that is continuous on a closed bounded interval; b) show that for any 1 there are

points  R with | | = points  (01] with | | =

for which |( ) ( )| 1; b) show that for any 1 there are

1

1 for which |( ) ( ) | = 2;

8. Determine if the following functions are continuous at (00)

27

 (a)  : R 2 → R,  (  ) = ( (b)  : R 2 → R,  (  ) = ( (c)  : R 2 → R,  (  ) = ½ (d)  : R 2 → R,  (  ) = ( (e)  : R 2 → R,  (  ) = ( (f)  : R 2 → R,  (  ) = (

3 3

0

  6=   =

2 2

2 +

0

2 (   ) 6= (00)

(   ) = (00)

(00)

(   ) = (00)



+ 2 (   ) 6=

2

0

sin ( 4 +4 )

0

2 +2

(   ) 6= (00)

(   ) = (00)

1cos ( 2 +2 )

0

2 + 2 (   ) 6= (00)

(   ) = (00)

1cos 2 +2 tan(2 +2 )

1

2

(0 0)

(   ) = (0 0)

(   ) 6=

9. Determine if the given functions are continuous at the indicated point:

 (a)  : R 3 → R 2