# Derivative

## Instantaneous rate of change (mathematics) / From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

#### Dear Wikiwand AI, let's keep it short by simply answering these key questions:

Can you list the top facts and stats about Derivative?

Summarize this article for a 10 year old

The **derivative** is a fundamental tool of calculus that quantifies the sensitivity of change of a function's output with respect to its input. The derivative of a function of a single variable at a chosen input value, when it exists, is the slope of the tangent line to the graph of the function at that point. The tangent line is the best linear approximation of the function near that input value. For this reason, the derivative is often described as the **instantaneous rate of change**, the ratio of the instantaneous change in the dependent variable to that of the independent variable.^{[1]} The process of finding a derivative is called **differentiation**.

There are multiple different notations for differentiation, two of the most commonly used being Leibniz notation and prime notation. Leibniz notation, named after Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz, is represented as the ratio of two differentials, whereas prime notation is written by adding a prime mark. Higher order notations represent repeated differentiation, and they are usually denoted in Leibniz notation by adding superscripts to the differentials, and in prime notation by adding additional prime marks. The higher order derivatives can be applied in physics; for example, while the first derivative of the position of a moving object with respect to time is the object's velocity, how the position changes as time advances, the second derivative is the object's acceleration, how the velocity changes as time advances.

Derivatives can be generalized to functions of several real variables. In this generalization, the derivative is reinterpreted as a linear transformation whose graph is (after an appropriate translation) the best linear approximation to the graph of the original function. The Jacobian matrix is the matrix that represents this linear transformation with respect to the basis given by the choice of independent and dependent variables. It can be calculated in terms of the partial derivatives with respect to the independent variables. For a real-valued function of several variables, the Jacobian matrix reduces to the gradient vector.