# Functional differentiation

## Introduction

Functional differentiation means computing or approximating the derivative of a function. There are several ways to do this:

• Approximate the derivative $f'(x)$ by ${\frac {f(x+h)-f(x)}{h}}$ where $h$ is close to zero. (or at best the square root of the machine precision $\varepsilon$.
• Compute the derivative of $f$ symbolically. This approach is particularly interesting for Haskell.

## Functional analysis

If you want to explain the terms Higher order function and Currying to mathematicians, this is certainly a good example. The mathematician writes

$Df(x)=\lim _{h\to 0}{\frac {f(x+h)-f(x)}{h}}$

derive :: (Fractional a) => a -> (a -> a) -> (a -> a)

Haskell's derive h approximates the mathematician's $D$. In functional analysis $D$ is called a (linear) function operator, because it maps functions to functions. In Haskell derive h is called a higher order function for the same reason. $D$ is in curried form. If it would be uncurried, you would write $D(f,x)$.