Wolfram|Alpha is a great calculator for first, second and third derivatives; derivatives at a point; and partial derivatives. Learn what derivatives are and how Wolfram|Alpha calculates them.

# Online Derivative Calculator

## Solve derivatives with Wolfram|Alpha

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## What are derivatives?

### The derivative is an important tool in calculus that represents an infinitesimal change in a function with respect to one of its variables.

Given a function f x, there are many ways to denote the derivative of f with respect to x. The most common ways are d fd x and f'x. When a derivative is taken n times, the notation dn fdxn or fnx is used. These are called higher-order derivatives. Note for second-order derivatives, the notation f''x is often used.

At a point x = a, the derivative is defined to be f'a = limh0f a + h - f hh . This limit is not guaranteed to exist, but if it does, f x is said to be differentiable at x = a. Geometrically speaking, f'a is the slope of the tangent line of f x at x = a.

As an example, if f x = x3, then f'x = limh0h+x3-x3h = 3x2 and then we can compute f''x: f''x = limh03x+h2-3 x2h = 6x. The derivative is a powerful tool with many applications. For example, it is used to find local/global extrema, find inflection points, solve optimization problems and describe the motion of objects.

## How Wolfram|Alpha calculates derivatives

Wolfram|Alpha calls Wolfram Languages's D function, which uses a table of identities much larger than one would find in a standard calculus textbook. It uses well-known rules such as the linearity of the derivative, product rule, power rule, chain rule and so on. Additionally, D uses lesser-known rules to calculate the derivative of a wide array of special functions. For higher-order derivatives, certain rules, like the general Leibniz product rule, can speed up calculations.