# Cantor function

The Cantor function^{} is a canonical example of a singular function. It is based on the Cantor set^{}, and is usually defined as follows. Let $x$ be a real number in $[0,1]$ with the ternary expansion $0.{a}_{1}{a}_{2}{a}_{3}\mathrm{\dots}$, then let $N$ be $\mathrm{\infty}$ if no ${a}_{n}=1$ and
otherwise let $N$ be the smallest value such that ${a}_{n}=1$. Next let ${b}_{n}=\frac{1}{2}{a}_{n}$ for all $$ and let ${b}_{N}=1$. We define the Cantor function (or the Cantor ternary function) as

$$f(x)=\sum _{n=1}^{N}\frac{{b}_{n}}{{2}^{n}}.$$ |

This function can be easily checked to be continuous^{} and monotonic on $[0,1]$ and also ${f}^{\prime}(x)=0$ almost everywhere (it is constant on the complement of the Cantor set), with $f(0)=0$ and $f(1)=1$. Another
interesting fact about this function is that the arclength of the graph is 2, hence the calculus arclength formula^{} does not work in this case.

Figure 1: Graph of the cantor function using 20 iterations.

This function, and functions similar to it are frequently called the Devil’s staircase. Such functions sometimes occur naturally in various areas of mathematics and mathematical physics and are not just a pathological^{} oddity.

## References

- 1 H. L. Royden. . Prentice-Hall, Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey, 1988

Title | Cantor function |

Canonical name | CantorFunction |

Date of creation | 2013-03-22 14:08:23 |

Last modified on | 2013-03-22 14:08:23 |

Owner | jirka (4157) |

Last modified by | jirka (4157) |

Numerical id | 9 |

Author | jirka (4157) |

Entry type | Definition |

Classification | msc 26A30 |

Synonym | Cantor ternary function |

Synonym | Cantor-Lebesgue function |

Synonym | Devil’s staircase |

Related topic | CantorSet |

Related topic | SingularFunction |

Defines | Cantor function |

Defines | Cantor ternary function |