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Initial value & common ratio of exponential functions

In an exponential function of the form f(x) = a*b^x, the initial value is usually taken to be the value of f(0), or "a". The common ratio refers to the rate of change in an exponential function. In the form given above, the common ratio is "b". For example, in the function f(x) = 2*3^x, the initial value is 2 and the common ratio is 3.

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Video transcript

- [Voiceover] So let's think about a function. I'll just give an example. Let's say, h of n is equal to one-fourth times two to the n. So, first of all, you might notice something interesting here. We have the variable, the input into our function. It's in the exponent. And a function like this is called an exponential function. So this is an exponential. Ex-po-nen-tial. Exponential function, and that's because the variable, the input into our function, is sitting in its definition of what is the output of that function going to be. The input is in the exponent. I could write another exponential function. I could write, f of, let's say the input is a variable, t, is equal to is equal to five times times three to the t. Once again, this is an exponential function. Now there's a couple of interesting things to think about in exponential function. In fact, we'll explore many of them, but I'll get a little used to the terminology, so one thing that you might see is a notion of an initial value. In-i-tial Intitial value. And this is essentially the value of the function when the input is zero. So, for in these cases, the initial value for the function, h, is going to be, h of zero. And when we evaluate that, that's going to be one-fourth times two to the zero. Well, two to the zero power, is just one. So it's equal to one-fourth. So the initial value, at least in this case, it seems to just be that number that sits out here. We have the initial value times some number to this exponent. And we'll come up with the name for this number. Well let's see if this was true over here for, f of t. So, if we look at its intial value, f of zero is going to be five times three to the zero power and, the same thing again. Three to the zero is just one. Five times one is just five. So the initial value is once again, that. So if you have exponential functions of this form, it makes sense. Your initial value, well if you put a zero in for the exponent, then the number raised to the exponent is just going to be one, and you're just going to be left with that thing that you're multiplying by that. Hopefully that makes sense, but since you're looking at it, hopefully it does make a little bit. Now, you might be saying, well what do we call this number? What do we call that number there? Or that number there? And that's called the common ratio. The common common ratio. And in my brain, we say well why is it called a common ratio? Well, if you thought about integer inputs into this, especially sequential integer inputs into it, you would see a pattern. For example, h of, let me do this in that green color, h of zero is equal to, we already established one-fourth. Now, what is h of one going to be equal to? It's going to be one-fourth times two to the first power. So it's going to be one-fourth times two. What is h of two going to be equal to? Well, it's going to be one-fourth times two squared, so it's going to be times two times two. Or, we could just view this as this is going to be two times h of one. And actually I should have done this when I wrote this one out, but this we can write as two times h of zero. So notice, if we were to take the ratio between h of two and h of one, it would be two. If we were to take the ratio between h of one and h of zero, it would be two. That is the common ratio between successive whole number inputs into our function. So, h of I could say h of n plus one over h of n is going to be equal to is going to be equal to actually I can work it out mathematically. One-fourth times two to the n plus one over one-fourth times two to the n. That cancels. Two to the n plus one, divided by two to the n is just going to be equal to two. That is your common ratio. So for the function h. For the function f, our common ratio is three. If we were to go the other way around, if someone said, hey, I have some function whose initial value, so let's say, I have some function, I'll do this in a new color, I have some function, g, and we know that its initial initial value is five. And someone were to say its common ratio its common ratio is six, what would this exponential function look like? And they're telling you this is an exponential function. Well, g of let's say x is the input, is going to be equal to our initial value, which is five. That's not a negative sign there, Our initial value is five. I'll write equals to make that clear. And then times our common ratio to the x power. So once again, initial value, right over there, that's the five. And then our common ratio is the six, right over there. So hopefully that gets you a little bit familiar with some of the parts of an exponential function, why they are called what they are called.