What is an independent variable?

Variables are, in the field of mathematics, symbols that appear in a function, a formula, a proposition or an algorithm. Its main characteristic is the ability to adopt different values.

When the value of one quantity depends exclusively on the value of another quantity, a mathematical function is established. This second magnitude, which determines the value of the first, is called the independent variable. Instead, the quantity whose value depends on the other acts as a dependent variable. It is important that we know that this term is composed of two words that, etymologically speaking, come from Latin:

-Variable derives from “variabilis”, which means that something can change its appearance and that it is composed of two distinct parts: the verb “variare” (change of appearance) and the suffix “-able”, which is used to indicate possibility .

-Independent, on the other hand, is the result of the union of three Latin components: the prefix “in”, which indicates negation; the verb “to depend”, which can be translated as “to be under the will of another”; and the suffix “-nte”, which is used to register the “agent”.

In addition to all the information we have provided about the aforementioned independent variable, it is necessary to know other data of interest such as these:

-When used in the domain of mathematics or statistics, it is represented by the “x”.

-In your case, it always develops on what is called the abscissa axis.

-Also in some sectors it is referred to as a manipulated variable.

– Characterized because arbitrary values ​​are assigned.

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– Within them are the control variables, which modify the other independent ones and which can change a result due to a bias. Let us take the case of a man who has to go from his home to his place of work, 10 kilometers away. The time that the path delay covers will depend on how fast it is moving. In this way, we can establish a function where speed is the independent variable that determines the duration of the trip (dependent variable). If that person decides to travel on a train that travels at a constant speed of 60 kilometers per hour, it will take him 10 minutes to get to his place of work. On the other hand, if you prefer to go to work on a bus that runs at a speed of 45 kilometers per hour, the journey time will be just over 13 minutes. As can be seen from the example, the independent variable of this function is speed , while travel time is the dependent variable. The duration of the trip depends on the speed: the speed, in this function, depends on itself.

It is important to note that this is a theoretical example that helps to understand what an independent variable is. In real life, the speed of a means of transport is usually not constant and even varies throughout the day. Simple examples of what an independent variable is:

-The price we pay for some potatoes, a dependent variable, will depend on the number of kilograms of potatoes we buy, an independent variable.

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-The cost of a taxi trip, a dependent variable, is given by the duration of the trip, an independent variable.

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