In algebra, a quadratic function, a quadratic polynomial, a polynomial of degree 2, or simply a quadratic, is a polynomial function with one or more variables in which the highest-degree term is of the second degree.
A quadratic polynomial with two real roots
(crossings of the x
axis) and hence no complex
roots. Some other quadratic polynomials have their minimum
above the x
axis, in which case there are no real roots and two complex roots.
For example, a univariate (single-variable) quadratic function has the form
in the single variable x. The graph of a univariate quadratic function is a parabola whose axis of symmetry is parallel to the y-axis, as shown at right.
If the quadratic function is set equal to zero, then the result is a quadratic equation. The solutions to the univariate equation are called the roots of the univariate function.
The bivariate case in terms of variables x and y has the form
with at least one of a, b, c not equal to zero, and an equation setting this function equal to zero gives rise to a conic section (a circle or other ellipse, a parabola, or a hyperbola).
A quadratic function in three variables x, y, and z contains exclusively terms x2, y2, z2, xy, xz, yz, x, y, z, and a constant: