# What the Heck is a Half Derivative?

## Fractional Calculus is easier than you think

When we think of a derivative, what exactly *is *the thing we think of?

*Note: this article is a flyover bird’s eye view of some elementary fractional calculus. Most of the material is stuff I covered in my undergraduate thesis, which you can DM me for if you are interested.*

*This article assumes knowledge of integral and differential calculus, and some basic algebra skills.*

# The Naive Symbolic Approach

There are a few models for the derivative: the limit of the average slope (the old finite difference formula:

The derivative is also the thing that “undoes” the integral, a sort of inverse integral, as shown by the (cue boomy voice) Fundamental Theorem of Calculus (part 1 and 2):

So, then, say we wanted to have some kind of algebraic way to look at these. Say, we wanted to really nail down that idea of “inverse” derivative, “inverse” integral. We could start with something nice like this:

In my way of thinking, this is the sort of object the derivative and integral are in relationship. Let’s nail this down a little further, and say we can define multiple derivatives and their inverses: