(Excerpt from "The MathML Handbook" by Pavi Sandhu)
The fn element is used to indicate that a particular MathML expression should be interpreted as a function. This element has exactly one argument, which specifies the name or symbol used to represent the function. For example, the following markup can be used to represent a function called f:
A function defined in this manner can then be used as the first child element of an apply element in the same way as the existing elements that represent functions, such as times or cos. Here is an example:
<apply> <fn><ci>f</ci></fn> <ci>x</ci> </apply>
You can indicate the meaning of the function by using the definitionURL or encoding attributes. In MathML 1.0, this was the only way to extend content markup to represent user-defined functions. In MathML 2.0, the csymbol element is provided for the same purpose and is the preferred way to specify user-defined functions.
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