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84
votes
3answers
8k views

Convergence of $\sum(n^3\sin^2n)^{-1}$

I saw a while ago in a book by Clifford Pickover, that whether $\displaystyle \sum_{n=1}^\infty\frac1{n^3\sin^2 n}$ converges is open. I would think that the question of its convergence is really ...
63
votes
7answers
5k views

Is $ \sum\limits_{n=0}^\infty x^n / \sqrt{n!} $ positive?

Is $$ \sum_{n=0}^\infty {x^n \over \sqrt{n!}} > 0 $$ for all real $x$? (I think it is.) If so, how would one prove this? (To confirm: This is the power series for $e^x$, except with the ...
46
votes
4answers
2k views

Nonexistence of boundary between convergent and divergent series?

The following is a FAQ that I sometimes get asked, and it occurred to me that I do not have an answer that I am completely satisfied with. In Rudin's Principles of Mathematical Analysis, following ...
38
votes
2answers
1k views

Numbers that are generic w.r.t. exponentiation

This is a follow-up to my old question Number of distinct values taken by $x\hat{\phantom{\hat{}}}x\hat{\phantom{\hat{}}}\dots\hat{\phantom{\hat{}}}x$ with parentheses inserted in all possible ways. ...
36
votes
2answers
3k views

Alternating sum of square roots of binomial coefficients

Let $$ c_n = \sum_{r=0}^n (-1)^r \sqrt{\binom{n}{r}}. $$ It is clear that $c_n = 0$ if $n$ is odd. Remarkably, it appears that despite the huge positive and negative contributions in the sum ...
29
votes
8answers
4k views

Series whose convergence is not known

For most of the mathematical concepts I learn, it has more or less always been possible to find (at least google and find) unsolved problems pertaining to that specific concept. Keeping a bag of ...
28
votes
3answers
3k views

Is there an “elegant” non-recursive formula for these coefficients? Also, how can one get proofs of these patterns?

Hi. Not sure if this is a "good" question for this forum or if it'll get panned, but here goes anyway... Consider this problem. I've been trying to find a formula to expand the "regular iteration" ...
26
votes
12answers
3k views

What Are Some Naturally-Occurring High-Degree Polynomials?

To construct J. H. Conway's look-and-say sequence, begin by putting down a 1 as the first entry. The other entries are found by saying the previous entry aloud, and writing what you hear. ...
26
votes
1answer
396 views

Rearrangements of a power series at the boundary of convergence

Take some power series $f(z) = \sum a_n z^n$ with a finite non-zero radius of convergence. I can rearrange the terms of the series, say, to get a different infinite series $$f_{\sigma}(z) = ...
25
votes
2answers
1k views

“Are you more intelligent than the average of those who are more intelligent than the average?”

I'm sure that many MO users would answer "Oh, yes, I'm more intelligent than the average intelligence of the population that has an intelligence greater than the (absolute) average". And someone, less ...
23
votes
4answers
1k views

Asymptotic growth of a certain integer sequence

Some time ago, while putting my nose in the Sloane's Online Encyclopedia of Integer Sequences, I came over the sequence A019568 defined as follows: $a(n):=$ the smallest positive integer $k$ such ...
23
votes
1answer
708 views

Are sums of sequences decidable?

Suppose that $f,g$ are rational functions with integer coefficients such that $\sum_{n=0}^{\infty}f(n)$ and $\sum_{n=0}^{\infty}g(n)$ both converge. Is it decidable whether ...
22
votes
1answer
393 views

“Harmonacci” recurrence and identities for $\pi$

While playing with something totally irrelevant I stumbled upon the recurrence: $$a_{n+1} = \frac{1}{a_n} + a_{n-1}$$ It turns out that given $a_0 = 1, a_1 = 1$, $$lim \frac{a_{2n}}{a_{2n-1}} = ...
20
votes
4answers
1k views

Can a conditionally convergent series of vectors be rearranged to give any limit?

Warmup (you've probably seen this before) Suppose $\sum_{n\ge 1} a_n$ is a conditionally convergent series of real numbers, then by rearranging the terms, you can make "the same series" converge to ...
20
votes
4answers
1k views

Freeness of a Z[x]-module

Definition: Call a mapping $f: \mathbb{Z} \rightarrow \mathbb{Z}$ a generalized polynomial if for any distinct integers $m$ and $n$ we have $(m - n)|(f(m)-f(n))$. It is easy to check that polynomial ...
20
votes
3answers
2k views

The Wronskian of sin(kx) and cos(kx), k=1…n

What is the determinant of the Wronskian of the functions $\{\cos\ x, \sin\ x, \cos\ 2x, \sin\ 2x,\ldots, \cos\ nx, \sin\ nx\}$? This determinant seems to be an integer, and the sequence starts with ...
20
votes
5answers
804 views

Iterated Circumcircle

Take three noncollinear points (a,b,c), compute the center of their circumcircle x, and replace a random one of a,b,c with x. Repeat. It seems this process may converge to a point, assuming no ...
18
votes
3answers
1k views

Zeroes of the random Fibonacci sequence

Let X_n be the "random Fibonacci sequence," defined as follows: $X_0 = 0, X_1 = 1$; $X_n = \pm X_{n-1} \pm X_{n-2}$, where the signs are chosen by independent 50/50 coinflips. It is known that ...
18
votes
3answers
1k views

Probabilities in a riddle involving axiom of choice

The question is about a modification of the following riddle (you can think about it before reading the answer if you like riddles, but that's not the point of my question): The Riddle: We assume ...
18
votes
1answer
424 views

Busy Beaver modulo 2

There is well-known Rado's "Busy Beaver" sequence — the maximal number of marks which a halting Turing machine with n states, 2 symbols (blank, mark) can produce onto an initially blank two-way ...
17
votes
9answers
5k views

What is the indefinite sum of tan(x)?

What is the indefinite sum of the tangent function, that is, the function $T$ for which $\Delta_x T = T(x + 1) - T(x) = \tan(x)$ Of course, there are infinitely many answers, who all differ by a ...
17
votes
2answers
2k views

Is there any sequence $a_n$ of nonnegative numbers for which $\sum_{n \geq 1}a_n^2 <\infty$ and $\sum_{n \geq 1}\left(\sum_{k \geq 1}\frac{a_{kn}}{k}\right)^2=\infty$?

Is there any sequence $a_n$ of nonnegative numbers for which $\displaystyle\sum_{n \geq 1}a_n^2 <\infty$ and $$\sum_{n \geq 1}\left(\sum_{k \geq 1}\frac{a_{kn}}{k}\right)^2=\infty\quad?$$ See ...
17
votes
3answers
2k views

Where in mathematics do these polynomials appear?

Does anyone recognize the following sequence of polynomials? $f_0(x) = x-1$ $f_1(x) = x^2-x$ $f_2(x) = x^4-2x^2+x$ $f_3(x) = x^8-3x^4+3x^2-x$ $f_4(x) = x^{16}-4x^8+6x^4-4x^2+x$ $\vdots$ The ...
16
votes
2answers
374 views

Shortest supersequence of all permutations of $n$ elements

Given an alphabet with $n$ characters, what is the shortest sequence that contains all $n!$ permutations as subsequences? A subsequence can be obtained from a sequence by deleting any characters, ...
16
votes
1answer
612 views

Ramanujan's pi formulas with a twist

Given the binomial function $\binom{n}{k}$, define the following sequences, $$\begin{aligned} u_1(k) &= \tbinom{2k}{k}\tbinom{3k}{k}\tbinom{6k}{3k} = 1, 120, 83160, 81681600,\dots \\ u_2(k) ...
15
votes
5answers
1k views

Proving that every term of the sequence is an integer

Let $m,n$ be nonnegative integers. The sequence $\{a_{m,n}\}$ satisfies the following three conditions. For any $m$, $a_{m,0}=a_{m,1}=1$ For any $n$, $a_{0,n}=1$ For any $m\ge0, n\ge1$, ...
14
votes
2answers
1k views

The function $\sum_{0}^{\infty} x^n/n^n$

The function $F(x) = \sum_{0}^{\infty} x^n/n^n$ may be familiar to many readers as an example sometimes used when teaching tests for absolute convergence of entire functions defined by power series. I ...
14
votes
3answers
419 views

sequences of real numbers

Let $\lbrace x_i\rbrace_{i=1}^\infty$ be a sequence of distinct numbers in $(0,1)$. For any $n$ after deleting $x_1,...,x_n$ from $[0,1]$ we get $n+1$ subintervals. Let $a_n$ be the maximum length of ...
14
votes
1answer
406 views

A sum by Ramanujan for $\coth^{2}(5\pi)$

Ramanujan mentions in one of his letters to Hardy that $$\frac{1^{5}}{e^{2\pi} - 1}\cdot\frac{1}{2500 + 1^{4}} + \frac{2^{5}}{e^{4\pi} - 1}\cdot\frac{1}{2500 + 2^{4}} + \cdots = ...
14
votes
1answer
2k views

The unreasonable effectiveness of Pade approximation

I am trying to get an intuitive feel for why the Pade approximation works so well. Given a truncated Taylor/Maclaurin series it "extrapolates" it beyond the radius of convergence. But what I can't ...
14
votes
0answers
808 views

Regularizing the divergent sum $1^k + 2^k + \cdots$

EDIT: Under this "regularization", the harmonic series can be interpreted as $s_{-1}$ and assigned a value $$s_{-1} = \lim_{k \rightarrow 1} \zeta(k) (2-2^k) = -2 \log 2$$ I was looking at ...
13
votes
2answers
829 views

a weird sequence with a non-integral term

Define a sequence $(a_n)_{n \geq 1}$ by $$na_n = 2 + \sum_{i = 1}^{n - 1} a_i^2.$$ (In particular, $a_1 = 2$.) How can you show - preferably without using a pc! - that not all terms of the sequence ...
13
votes
2answers
837 views

Does this sequence always give an integer?

It is known that the $k$-Somos sequences always give integers for $2\le k\le 7$. For example, the $6$-Somos sequence is defined as the following : $$a_{n+6}=\frac{a_{n+5}\cdot a_{n+1}+a_{n+4}\cdot ...
13
votes
2answers
895 views

Can an infinite sequence of integers generate integer-area triangles?

(asked by Shanzhen Gao, shanzhengao at yahoo.com, on the Q&A board at JMM) Does there exist an infinite, monotonically increasing sequence of integers $\{ a_n \}_{n \geq 0}$ such that for any ...
12
votes
2answers
728 views

An Euler-proof that cannot be repaired?

Ed Sandifer writes on Euler's wonderful work on prime numbers: The sum of the series of reciprocals of prime numbers $\frac{1}{2}+\frac{1}{3}+\frac{1}{5}+...$ is infinitely large, and is infinitely ...
12
votes
2answers
288 views

A sequence based on Catalan–Mihăilescu problem

It was conjectured by Catalan in 1844 that the only solutions of the equation $x^a-y^b=1$ over variables $a,b,x,y\in\mathbb{N^+}$ are trivial ones: $3^1-2^1=1$ and $3^2-2^3=1$. The conjecture was ...
12
votes
1answer
297 views

Cesaro(?)/Euler(?) - summation of the $s(p)=\sum_{k=0}^\infty (-1)^{H(k)} (1+k)^p$ for $p=1,2,3,…$ (where $H(k)$ is the Hamming-weight)

In another thread (in MO) there was a question about a series where the signs at the terms alternate with the "Hamming-weight", that means according to the number of bits in the binary representation ...
12
votes
0answers
521 views

How to explain the picturesque patterns in François Brunault's matrix?

How to explain the patterns in the matrix defined in François Brunault's answer to the question Freeness of a Z[x] module depicted below? -- Choosing colors according to the highest power of 2 which ...
11
votes
5answers
3k views

Upper bounds for the sum of primes <= n

Let $s(n)$ denote the sum of primes less than or equal to n. Clearly, $s(n)$ is bounded from above by the sum of the first $n/2$ odd integers $+1$. $s(n)$ is also bounded by the sum of the first $n$ ...
11
votes
1answer
2k views

Ramanujan's Incorrect formula

I actually looked at one of my Questions (posted at MATH.SE) again and found a formula which actually Ramanujan had discovered. Ramanujan: If $\alpha$ and $\beta$ are positive numbers such that ...
11
votes
5answers
848 views

Asymptotics of a Bernoulli-number-like function

Tony Lezard asked me the following question which seemed like it should not be too hard but which I did not immediately see how to answer. Define $f(n,k)$ recursively by $f(1,k) = 1$ and $$f(n,k) = ...
11
votes
1answer
608 views

Order of magnitude of $\sum \frac{1}{\log{p}}$

Question: What is the order of magnitude of the following sum? $$ \sum_{p<n}_{p\ \ prime} \frac{1}{\log{p}} $$ Additional information: Since $$ \sum_{p<n}_{p\ \ prime} \frac{1}{\log{n}} ...
11
votes
1answer
198 views

An elementary expression for $_3F_2(1,1,9/4;2,2;-1)$

Consider the following series: $$S=\sum_{n=1}^\infty\frac{(-1)^n\ \Gamma\left(\frac{5}{4}+n\right)}{n^2\ \Gamma(n)}.$$ It can be expressed in terms of a hypergeometric function: ...
11
votes
1answer
254 views

Cantor set intersecting a geometric sequence

I was working on a problem involving finding all points in the intersection of the Cantor set $C$ and the geometric sequence $\{ (2/3)^i \}_{i=1}^\infty$. The only points I have in this intersection ...
11
votes
2answers
874 views

Rational numbers with dense orbits in [0,1] under iteration by f(x)=4x(1-x)

Let $f(x)=4x(1-x)$. For which rational numbers $r\in [0,1]$ is the sequence $f^n(r)$, $n\in \mathbb N$, dense in $[0,1]$ ? $(f^n(r)=f\circ f\circ ...\circ f(r)$ n times) I would be happy to find a ...
11
votes
2answers
773 views

Non-arithmetic proof of the integrality of a rational expression

The following expression is an integer for any natural $n,k$ $$c(n,k)=\frac{k^n\prod_{m=0}^{n-1}(1+mk)}{n!}.$$ The generating function for these numbers is $\sum_{n\geq 0} c(n,k)x^n=(1-k^2x)^{-1/k}$, ...
10
votes
11answers
2k views

Longest coinciding pair of integer sequences known

There are arbitrarily many pairs of integer sequences (of arbitrary origins) that coincide upto an $N$ but differ for an $n > N$. I assume, the coincidence will be considered accidentally then by ...
10
votes
3answers
579 views

Convergence of alternating harmonic sums

I owe the idea of asking this question to Max Muller and his curiosity. What is the set of $\alpha$ in the interval $0\le\alpha < 1$ for which the alternating sum $$ ...
10
votes
1answer
733 views

Can an infinite number of mathematicians guess the number in a box with only one error?

In this question the following observation was made: Consider a sequence of boxes numbered 0, 1, ... each containing one real number. The real number cannot be seen unless the box is opened. Define ...
10
votes
3answers
570 views

Calculus Teaching: Is it possible or desirable to give a severely abbreviated treatment of series convergence tests?

I will be teaching Calculus 2 this fall at a large U.S. state university. Our incoming students tend to have a limited or inconsistent background, which limits the amount of material we can cover. ...