Sign function

(Redirected from Signum function)

In mathematics and especially in computer science, the sign function is a logical function which extracts the sign of a real number. To avoid confusion with the sine function, this function is often called the signum function. The sign function is often represented as sgn and can be defined thus:

[itex] \sgn x = \left\{ \begin{matrix}

-1 & : & x < 0 \\ 0 & : & x = 0 \\ 1 & : & x > 0 \end{matrix} \right. [itex]

Any real number can be expressed as the product of its absolute value and its sign function:

From equation (1) it follows that

but equation (2) is indeterminate when x is set to zero.

The signum function is the derivative of the absolute value function (up to the indeterminacy at zero):

[itex] {d |x| \over dx} = {x \over |x|}. [itex]

Also, the derivative of the signum function is two times the Dirac delta function,

[itex] {d \ \sgn x \over dx} = 2 \delta (x). [itex]

The signum function is related to the Heaviside step function h0.5(x) thus

[itex] \sgn x = 2 h_{0.5}(x) - 1, [itex]

where the 0.5 subscript of the step function means that [itex] h_{0.5}(0) = 0.5. [itex]

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