# Graph of a function

In science, engineering, technology, finance, and other areas, graphs are tools used for many purposes. In the simplest case one variable is plotted as a function of another, typically using rectangular axes; see *Plot (graphics)* for details.

In the modern foundations of mathematics, and, typically, in set theory, a function is actually equal to its graph. However, it is often useful to see functions as mappings,^{[2]} which consist not only of the relation between input and output, but also which set is the domain, and which set is the codomain. For example, to say that a function is onto (surjective) or not the codomain should be taken into account. The graph of a function on its own doesn't determine the codomain. It is common^{[3]} to use both terms *function* and *graph of a function* since even if considered the same object, they indicate viewing it from a different perspective.

If this set is plotted on a Cartesian plane, the result is a curve (see figure).

If this set is plotted on a three dimensional Cartesian coordinate system, the result is a surface (see figure).

Oftentimes it is helpful to show with the graph, the gradient of the function and several level curves. The level curves can be mapped on the function surface or can be projected on the bottom plane. The second figure shows such a drawing of the graph of the function: