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Global Maxima and Minima

A local minimum value of a function is the lowest value of a function within a very small interval; there can be more than one local minimum within the domain of the domain. A local maximum value of a function is the highest value of a function within a very small interval; there can be more than one local maximum within a domain. A global maximum is the highest value of the function within the entire domain; there can only be one global maximum. A global minimum is the lowest value of the function within the entire domain; there can only be one global minimum. In some cases, the global maximum of a function is the same as one of the local maximums of the function, and the global minimum of a function is the same as one of the local minimums of the function. In some cases, there is a global minimum and a global maximum, but no local maximums or minimums. The following graphs are a few examples of functions with local and global extrema. Global maximums and global minimums can be found at the endpoints of a closed domain; local maximums and local minimums cannot be found at the endpoints of a closed domain.

Example 1: The function has two local minimas, a global minima, two local maximas, and a global maxima on the specified domain. The following graph illustrates a function whose global extrema are different from its local extrema. The x marks each end of a specified interval that defines the domain of the function. We have extended the graph pass the x marks for illustration purposes only. It shows that if you widen the domain, the global extrema will change but the local extrema will not.

y
80

f(x)=-x*(x+4)*(x+2)*(x-1)*(x-3)

X
60

Local Maxima

40

Local Maxima
20

x
-5 -4 -3 -2 -1 -20 1 2 3 4 5

Local Minima

-40

-60

Local Minima

-80

-100

Example 2: The function has is a global maxima; however; there is no local maxima. The global minima and the local minima are the same. The following graph illustrates a function whose domain is restricted to the interval [ 0, 7 ] marked by Xs on the graph. We have extended the graph beyond the specified domain for illustration purposes only. Note that there is a global maximum at x = 0 (highest point on the graph within the specified domain). The lowest point on the graph is also the lowest point within a small local area around x = 4 ; therefore, the local minimum is the same as the global minimum. If we widen the domain, the global maximum value will change; however, the global and local minimum values will not change.

y
14

f(x)=x^2-8x+10

12

10X 8

X
x

-1 -2

-4

-6

Local and Global Minima

Example 3: The function has a global maxima and a global minimum; however; there are no local extrema. The following graph illustrates a function whose domain is restricted to the interval [0.5, 2.5] marked by Xs on the graph. We have extended the graph beyond the specified domain for illustration purposes only. Note that there is a global maximum at x = 2.5 (highest point on the graph within the specified domain). There is a global minimum at x = 0.5 ( lowest point on the graph within the specified domain). There are no local extrema. If we widen the domain, the global maximum and minimum values will change.

f(x)=(x-1)^3

X
2

x
-2.5 -2 -1.5 -1 -0.5 0.5 1 1.5 2 2.5 3 3.5 4 4.5

-1

-2

-3

Finding the Global Maximum and Global Minimum Values of a Function

The global minimum and the global maximum will be found at either the endpoints of a specified interval or at the local extrema. 1. Graph the function and determine the global extrema from the graph. 2. Evaluate the function at the endpoints. 3. Find the Critical Values 4. Find the Critical Intervals 5. Find the Local Extrema using either the First Derivative Test or the Second Derivative Test 6. Evaluate the function at the local extrema. 7. Compare the values of the function at the endpoints and the extrema. The lowest value is the global minimum and the highest value is the global maximum.

Example 1:

Find the global extrema of the function f ( x ) = x 2 10 x + 5 on the interval

[ 3,8] .
Answer: Solution: Step 1: Graph the function and determine the global extrema from the graph. It appears, from the graph that there is a global maxima at x = 3 with a value of 44. It appears from the graph, that the local minima and global minima are the same and are located at x = 5 with a value of -20. Global Minimum is -20, Global Maximum is 44

f(x)=x^2-10x+5

(-3, 44)

40

30

20

10

x
-4 -3 -2 -1 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9

-10

(8, -11)

-20

Step 2: Evaluate the function at the endpoints.

Left Endpoint: f ( 3) = ( 3) 10 ( 3) + 5 = 44
2

Right Endpoint:

f ( 8 ) = ( 8 ) 10 ( 8 ) + 5 = 11
2

Step 3: Find the Critical Values.

f ( x ) = x 2 10 x + 5 f ' ( x ) = 2 x 10 = 0 x=5

Step 4: Find the Critical Intervals.

The domain [ 3,8] is divided into the critical intervals by the critical value:

[ 3,5) and ( 5,8] .

Step 5: Find the Local Extrema using either the First Derivative Test or the Second Derivative Test First Derivative Test: We do this by calculating the numbers with in the open the critical intervals ( 3,5 ) and ( 5,8 ) .
0 ( 3,5 ) and f ' ( 0 ) = 2 ( 0 ) 10 < 0 means the function is decreasing on the interval

[ 3,5) .
6 ( 5,8 ) and f ' ( 6 ) = 2 ( 6 ) 10 = 2 > 0 means the function is increasing on the interval

( 5,8] .
Since the function is decreasing to the left of x = 5 and increasing to the right of x = 5 , there is a local minimum at x = 5 .

Step 6: Evaluate the function at the local extrema.

f ( 5 ) = ( 5 ) 10 ( 5 ) + 5 = 20
2

Step 7:

Compare the values of the function at the endpoints and the extrema. The lowest value is the global minimum and the highest value is the global maximum.

The value of the function at the left endpoint is 44. The value of the function at the right endpoint is -11. The value of the function at the local minima is -20.

The lowest value of the function is -20; therefore, the local minima and the global minima are the same, -20. The highest value of the function is 44; therefore, the global maximum is 44.

Step 8:

Our analysis checks with our graph in Step 1.

If you find a mistake or want to make a comment or suggest, contact Dr. Nancy Marcus at nancymarcus@utep.edu.