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March 25th, 2017, 02:09 PM  #1 
Newbie Joined: Mar 2017 From: leuven Posts: 20 Thanks: 0  really basic question about functions
So I recently started a highschool level math course (in my spare time, so without any teachers) on top of my high school studies, On one of the exercises, they gave me a function, h(x) = 2x5 I have never seen brackets like this  before. I'm required to solve a bunch of things (zero, min/max. etc., really easy stuff still). I'm required to use the TI84 plus calculater (Texas Instruments) to solve this. So first of all I have to fill in this function in y=. But I don't know how to input brackets like  and whether I can also get the same result by using normal brackets (). could anyone tell me how to input those special brackets in a calculator and what the difference is between  and ()? Thank you for your time at least. Last edited by skipjack; March 25th, 2017 at 06:22 PM. 
March 25th, 2017, 02:13 PM  #2 
Senior Member Joined: Sep 2015 From: USA Posts: 1,660 Thanks: 844 
$x$ is referred to as the "absolute value" of $x$ You can think of it as stripping away the negative sign. $x = \begin{cases} 0 &x=0 \\ x &x < 0 \\ x &0 < x \end{cases}$ some info on using the absolute value on your calculator Last edited by romsek; March 25th, 2017 at 02:23 PM. 
March 25th, 2017, 02:20 PM  #3 
Newbie Joined: Mar 2017 From: leuven Posts: 20 Thanks: 0 
woa thanks that really helped me! There was no info about it in my handbook at all. now the result looks way more realistic. 
March 25th, 2017, 02:39 PM  #4 
Senior Member Joined: Jun 2015 From: England Posts: 705 Thanks: 202 
it is also written abs(x) in some places such as computers. Another name is the modulus or mod(x) You can get the vertical line symbol with the shift key and the key to the right of the z key on a computer keyboard. Thus  Go well in your studies and if in doubt ask. 
March 25th, 2017, 03:09 PM  #5 
Senior Member Joined: May 2016 From: USA Posts: 862 Thanks: 348 
Another way is $x = \sqrt{x^2}.$ Means the exact same thing as what Romsek said, but it is very easy to compute on a calculator. 
March 25th, 2017, 04:48 PM  #6 
Newbie Joined: Mar 2017 From: leuven Posts: 20 Thanks: 0 
@studiot okay didn't know about the alternative naming of mod(x) the keyboard shortcut doesnt work for me though since i don't have the qwerty layout tough i know how to get  it using my pc. The course i'm following is really bad on some parts since it gives you 4 pages of information and 2 pages of practice excercises which i all get but then theyl just base the excercises on grades on things that aren't in the book and that i haven't ever seen before. will be a serious struggle but i'l do my very best to get through it. @JeffM1 I see it somehow makes sence since you eliminate the  by making it a square root. Though honestly i couldnt possibly guess that before since i had absolutely no idea what the brackets did (pun intended) 

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