If you watched the function notation video on the main functions page, you got a taste of a concept called composite functions or composition of functions. The idea is that, instead of just plugging numbers in functions, you can also plug in more sophisticated things including other functions. That's basically all that is going on.
If you want a complete lecture on this topic, we recommend this video. He also gives you some information about operations on functions, which is good to review at this point.
video by Prof Leonard |
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Getting Started
Let's get started by looking at an example.
For the functions \(f(x)=3x^2\) and \(g(x)=x+3\), by now you know that \(f(3)=3(3)^2=27\) and \(g(2)=2+3=5\). But what is \(f(x+3)\)? Well, if you compare \(f(x+3)\) and \(f(x)\), you notice that we replaced \(x\) in \(f(x)\) with \(x+3\) to get \(f(x+3)\). So since we replace \(x\) with \(x+3\) in \(f(x)\), we do the same replacement in the function \(f(x)=3x^2\) to get \(f(x+3)=3(x+3)^2\).
Similarly, we can find \(g(3x^2)\) by replacing x with \(3x^2\) to get \(g(3x^2)=3x^2+3\).
Given the same two functions \(f(x)=3x^2\) and \(g(x)=x+3\), we can write the same two composition of functions as \(f(g(x))\) and \(g(f(x))\).
Here is a great video explaining composite functions with lots of examples.
video by MIP4U |
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Another way to write the composition of the two functions \(f(x)\) and \(g(x)\) is \( f(g(x)) = (f \circ g)(x)\). You will also see this written as \(f \circ g\) without the \((x)\).
Be careful with composition, \(f(g(x)) \neq g(f(x))\) most of the time. There will be times that they are equal but those are very special cases (like with inverse functions).
Okay, time for some practice problems.
Practice
For \( f(x) = 3x - 1 \) and \( g(x) = 2x^2 + x + 1 \), find \( f \circ g \) and \( g \circ f \).
Problem Statement
For \( f(x) = 3x - 1 \) and \( g(x) = 2x^2 + x + 1 \), find \( f \circ g \) and \( g \circ f \).
Solution
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For \( f(x) = 3x - 4 \) and \( g(x) = x^3 - 3 \), find \( f \circ g \) and \( g \circ f \).
Problem Statement
For \( f(x) = 3x - 4 \) and \( g(x) = x^3 - 3 \), find \( f \circ g \) and \( g \circ f \).
Solution
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For \( f(x) = 5x + 2 \) and \( g(x) = x^3 - 4 \), calculate \( f(g(2)) \) and \( g(f(-1)) \).
Problem Statement
For \( f(x) = 5x + 2 \) and \( g(x) = x^3 - 4 \), calculate \( f(g(2)) \) and \( g(f(-1)) \).
Solution
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For \( f(x) = 2x - 3 \) and \( g(x) = 5x + 1 \), find \( f \circ g \).
Problem Statement
For \( f(x) = 2x - 3 \) and \( g(x) = 5x + 1 \), find \( f \circ g \).
Solution
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For \( f(x) = x + 3 \) and \( g(x) = x^2 - 5 \), find \( f \circ g \) and \( g \circ f \).
Problem Statement
For \( f(x) = x + 3 \) and \( g(x) = x^2 - 5 \), find \( f \circ g \) and \( g \circ f \).
Solution
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For \( f(x) = 3x + 2 \) and \( g(x) = x^2 + 1 \), find \( f \circ g \) and \( g \circ f \).
Problem Statement
For \( f(x) = 3x + 2 \) and \( g(x) = x^2 + 1 \), find \( f \circ g \) and \( g \circ f \).
Solution
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For \( f(x) = x^2 - 3 \) and \( g(x) = \sqrt{x-1} \), find \( f \circ g \) and \( g \circ f \).
Problem Statement
For \( f(x) = x^2 - 3 \) and \( g(x) = \sqrt{x-1} \), find \( f \circ g \) and \( g \circ f \).
Solution
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For \(f(x)=x^2+x\), \(g(x)=4-x\), find \(f \circ g\) and \(g \circ f\)
Problem Statement
For \(f(x)=x^2+x\), \(g(x)=4-x\), find \(f \circ g\) and \(g \circ f\)
Solution
video by PatrickJMT |
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For \(f(x)=x^2-2x+3\), \(g(x)=2x+1\), find \(f \circ g\) and \(g \circ f\).
Problem Statement
For \(f(x)=x^2-2x+3\), \(g(x)=2x+1\), find \(f \circ g\) and \(g \circ f\).
Solution
video by MIP4U |
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\(f(x)=2x-3\), \(g(x)=6x^2-4x+5\), find \(f(g(7))\), \(g(f(2))\), \(f(g(-3))\), \(f(f(-4))\).
Problem Statement
\(f(x)=2x-3\), \(g(x)=6x^2-4x+5\), find \(f(g(7))\), \(g(f(2))\), \(f(g(-3))\), \(f(f(-4))\).
Solution
video by MIP4U |
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For \(f(x)=x^2+5\), \(g(x)=6x-15\), find \((f \circ g)(2)\) and \((g \circ f)(2)\).
Problem Statement
For \(f(x)=x^2+5\), \(g(x)=6x-15\), find \((f \circ g)(2)\) and \((g \circ f)(2)\).
Solution
video by MIP4U |
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For \(f(x)=3x/5+4\), \(g(x)=2x^2-5x+9\), find \((f \circ g)(2)\), \((g \circ f)(4)\), \((f \circ g)(1/2)\), \((f \circ f)(-4/5)\).
Problem Statement
For \(f(x)=3x/5+4\), \(g(x)=2x^2-5x+9\), find \((f \circ g)(2)\), \((g \circ f)(4)\), \((f \circ g)(1/2)\), \((f \circ f)(-4/5)\).
Solution
video by MIP4U |
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For \(f(x)=1/(x+5)\), \(g(x)=3/x-5\), find \(f \circ g\) and \(g \circ f\).
Problem Statement
For \(f(x)=1/(x+5)\), \(g(x)=3/x-5\), find \(f \circ g\) and \(g \circ f\).
Solution
video by MIP4U |
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For \(f(x)=x^3-x+1\), \(g(x)=2x^2\), \(h(x)=\sqrt{x}\), find \( f(g(h(x))) \).
Problem Statement
For \(f(x)=x^3-x+1\), \(g(x)=2x^2\), \(h(x)=\sqrt{x}\), find \( f(g(h(x))) \).
Solution
video by MIP4U |
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For \(f(x)=x/(x+1)\), \(g(x)=x^{10}\), \(h(x)=x+3\), find \(f \circ g \circ h\).
Problem Statement
For \(f(x)=x/(x+1)\), \(g(x)=x^{10}\), \(h(x)=x+3\), find \(f \circ g \circ h\).
Solution
video by Krista King Math |
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For \(h(x)=3x\), \(g(t)=-2t-2-h(t)\), \(f(n)=-5n^2+h(n)\), find \(h(g(8))\)
Problem Statement
For \(h(x)=3x\), \(g(t)=-2t-2-h(t)\), \(f(n)=-5n^2+h(n)\), find \(h(g(8))\)
Solution
video by Khan Academy |
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Domain of Composite Functions
To find the domain of composite functions, some care is required. Some instructors tell you to find the expression of the composite function and determine the domain from that. However, sometimes information is lost in the algebra and it is easy to get the incorrect answer.
The best way to determine the domain is to start with the inside function, determine the domain and range of it and then use it's range as the domain of the outside function.
Practice
For \( f(x) = 1/x \) and \( g(x) = x + 3 \), find \( (f \circ g)(x) \), \( (g \circ f)(x) \) and the domains of each composite function.
Problem Statement
For \( f(x) = 1/x \) and \( g(x) = x + 3 \), find \( (f \circ g)(x) \), \( (g \circ f)(x) \) and the domains of each composite function.
Solution
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For \( f(x) = \sqrt{x-2} \) and \( g(x) = 1/(x+3) \), find \( f \circ g \) and it's domain.
Problem Statement
For \( f(x) = \sqrt{x-2} \) and \( g(x) = 1/(x+3) \), find \( f \circ g \) and it's domain.
Solution
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For \( f(x) = \sqrt{x-5} \) and \( g(x) = 1/(8-x) \), find \( g \circ f \) and it's domain.
Problem Statement
For \( f(x) = \sqrt{x-5} \) and \( g(x) = 1/(8-x) \), find \( g \circ f \) and it's domain.
Solution
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For \(f(x)=x+1/x\), \(g(x)=(x+1)/(x+2)\), find \(f \circ g\), \(g \circ f\), \(f \circ f\), \(g \circ g\) and their domains.
Problem Statement
For \(f(x)=x+1/x\), \(g(x)=(x+1)/(x+2)\), find \(f \circ g\), \(g \circ f\), \(f \circ f\), \(g \circ g\) and their domains.
Solution
video by Krista King Math |
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For \(\displaystyle{f(x)=x+\frac{1}{x}; }\) \(\displaystyle{ g(x)=\frac{x+1}{x+2}}\) find the domains of \(f\circ g,~~ g\circ f,~~f\circ f,~~ g\circ g\).
Problem Statement
For \(\displaystyle{f(x)=x+\frac{1}{x}; }\) \(\displaystyle{ g(x)=\frac{x+1}{x+2}}\) find the domains of \(f\circ g,~~ g\circ f,~~f\circ f,~~ g\circ g\).
Solution
video by Krista King Math |
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Find the domain of \(g(f(x))\) where \(\displaystyle{f(x)= \frac{1}{x}; g(x)=\sqrt{x+4}}\).
Problem Statement
Find the domain of \(g(f(x))\) where \(\displaystyle{f(x)= \frac{1}{x}; g(x)=\sqrt{x+4}}\).
Solution
video by PatrickJMT |
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Find the domain of \(g(f(x))\) where \(\displaystyle{f(x)=\sqrt{x-8}; g(x)=x^2}\).
Problem Statement
Find the domain of \(g(f(x))\) where \(\displaystyle{f(x)=\sqrt{x-8}; g(x)=x^2}\).
Solution
video by PatrickJMT |
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Find the domain of \(g(f(x))\) where \(\displaystyle{f(x)=\frac{1}{x}; }\) \(\displaystyle{ g(x)=\frac{1}{(x+2)(x-3)}}\).
Problem Statement
Find the domain of \(g(f(x))\) where \(\displaystyle{f(x)=\frac{1}{x}; }\) \(\displaystyle{ g(x)=\frac{1}{(x+2)(x-3)}}\).
Solution
video by PatrickJMT |
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