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In mathematics, a knee of a curve (or elbow of a curve) is a point where the curve visibly bends, specifically from high slope to low slope (flat or close to flat), or in the other direction. This is particularly used in optimization, where a knee point is the optimum point for some decision, for example when there is an increasing function and a trade-off between the benefit (vertical y axis) and the cost (horizontal x axis): the knee is where the benefit is no longer increasing rapidly, and is no longer worth the cost of further increases – a cutoff point of diminishing returns.

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  • Knee of a curve
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  • In mathematics, a knee of a curve (or elbow of a curve) is a point where the curve visibly bends, specifically from high slope to low slope (flat or close to flat), or in the other direction. This is particularly used in optimization, where a knee point is the optimum point for some decision, for example when there is an increasing function and a trade-off between the benefit (vertical y axis) and the cost (horizontal x axis): the knee is where the benefit is no longer increasing rapidly, and is no longer worth the cost of further increases – a cutoff point of diminishing returns.
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  • In mathematics, a knee of a curve (or elbow of a curve) is a point where the curve visibly bends, specifically from high slope to low slope (flat or close to flat), or in the other direction. This is particularly used in optimization, where a knee point is the optimum point for some decision, for example when there is an increasing function and a trade-off between the benefit (vertical y axis) and the cost (horizontal x axis): the knee is where the benefit is no longer increasing rapidly, and is no longer worth the cost of further increases – a cutoff point of diminishing returns. In heuristic use, the term may be used informally, and a knee point identified visually, but in more formal use an explicit objective function is used, and depends on the particular optimization problem. A knee may also be defined purely geometrically, in terms of the curvature or the second derivative.
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