# Finding Limits

In doing many kinds of calculations, you need to evaluate expressions when variables take on particular values. In many cases, you can do this simply by applying transformation rules for the variables using the operator.

You can get the value of

at 0 just by explicitly replacing

with 0, and then evaluating the result.

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In some cases, however, you have to be more careful.

Consider, for example, finding the value of the expression when . If you simply replace by in this expression, you get the indeterminate result . To find the correct value of when , you need to take the *limit*.

Limit[expr,x->x_{0}] | find the limit of expr when x approaches |

Finding limits.

This gives the correct value for the limit of

as

.

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No finite limit exists in this case.

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Limit can find this limit, even though you cannot get an ordinary power series for

at

.

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The value of

Sign[x] at

is

0.

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Its

*limit*, however, is

. The limit is by default taken from above.

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Not all functions have definite limits at particular points. For example, the function oscillates infinitely often near , so it has no definite limit there. Nevertheless, at least so long as remains real, the values of the function near always lie between and . Limit represents values with bounded variation using Interval objects. In general, Interval[{x_{min} represents an uncertain value which lies somewhere in the interval to .

Limit returns an

Interval object, representing the range of possible values of

near its essential singularity at

.

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*Mathematica* can do arithmetic with

Interval objects.

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*Mathematica* represents this limit symbolically in terms of an

Interval object.

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Some functions may have different limits at particular points, depending on the direction from which you approach those points. You can use the Direction option for Limit to specify the direction you want.

Limit[expr,x->x_{0},Direction->1] | find the limit as x approaches from below |

Limit[expr,x->x_{0},Direction->-1] | find the limit as x approaches from above |

Directional limits.

The function

has a different limiting value at

, depending on whether you approach from above or below.

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Approaching from below gives a limiting value of

.

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Approaching from above gives a limiting value of

.

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Limit makes no assumptions about functions like about which it does not have definite knowledge. As a result, Limit remains unevaluated in most cases involving symbolic functions.

Limit has no definite knowledge about

, so it leaves this limit unevaluated.

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