2005 AIME II Problems/Problem 11

Problem

Let $m$ be a positive integer, and let $a_0, a_1,\ldots,a_m$ be a sequence of reals such that $a_0 = 37, a_1 = 72, a_m = 0,$ and $a_{k+1} = a_{k-1} - \frac 3{a_k}$ for $k = 1,2,\ldots, m-1.$ Find $m.$

Solution 1

For $0 < k < m$, we have

$a_{k}a_{k+1} = a_{k-1}a_{k} - 3$.

Thus the product $a_{k}a_{k+1}$ is a monovariant: it decreases by 3 each time $k$ increases by 1. For $k = 0$ we have $a_{k}a_{k+1} = 37\cdot 72$, so when $k = \frac{37 \cdot 72}{3} = 888$, $a_{k}a_{k+1}$ will be zero for the first time, which implies that $m = \boxed{889}$, our answer.


Note: In order for $a_{m} = 0$ we need $a_{m-1}a_{m}=3$ simply by the recursion definition.

Solution 2

Plugging in $k = m-1$ to the given relation, we get $0 = a_{m-2} - \frac {3}{a_{m-1}} \implies{a_{m-2}a_{m-1} = 3}$. Inspecting the value of $a_{k}a_{k+1}$ for small values of $k$, we see that $a_{k}a_{k+1} = 37\cdot 72 - 3k$. Setting the RHS of this equation equal to $3$, we find that $m$ must be $\boxed{889}$.

~ anellipticcurveoverq

Video solution

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JfxNr7lv7iQ

See also

2005 AIME II (ProblemsAnswer KeyResources)
Preceded by
Problem 10
Followed by
Problem 12
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15
All AIME Problems and Solutions

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