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Weierstrass function

Function that is continuous everywhere but differentiable nowhere / From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

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In mathematics, the Weierstrass function is an example of a real-valued function that is continuous everywhere but differentiable nowhere. It is an example of a fractal curve. It is named after its discoverer Karl Weierstrass.

Plot of Weierstrass function over the interval [2, 2]. Like some other fractals, the function exhibits self-similarity: every zoom (red circle) is similar to the global plot.

The Weierstrass function has historically served the role of a pathological function, being the first published example (1872) specifically concocted to challenge the notion that every continuous function is differentiable except on a set of isolated points.[1] Weierstrass's demonstration that continuity did not imply almost-everywhere differentiability upended mathematics, overturning several proofs that relied on geometric intuition and vague definitions of smoothness. These types of functions were denounced by contemporaries: Henri Poincaré famously described them as "monsters" and called Weierstrass' work "an outrage against common sense", while Charles Hermite wrote that they were a "lamentable scourge". The functions were difficult to visualize until the arrival of computers in the next century, and the results did not gain wide acceptance until practical applications such as models of Brownian motion necessitated infinitely jagged functions (nowadays known as fractal curves).[2]