2011 AIME II Problems/Problem 9

Problem 9

Let $x_1, x_2, ... , x_6$ be non-negative real numbers such that $x_1 +x_2 +x_3 +x_4 +x_5 +x_6 =1$, and $x_1 x_3 x_5 +x_2 x_4 x_6 \ge {\frac{1}{540}}$. Let $p$ and $q$ be positive relatively prime integers such that $\frac{p}{q}$ is the maximum possible value of $x_1 x_2 x_3 + x_2 x_3 x_4 +x_3 x_4 x_5 +x_4 x_5 x_6 +x_5 x_6 x_1 +x_6 x_1 x_2$. Find $p+q$.


Note that neither the constraint nor the expression we need to maximize involves products $x_i x_j$ with $i \equiv j \pmod 3$. Factoring out say $x_1$ and $x_4$ we see that the constraint is $x_1(x_3x_5) + x_4(x_2x_6) \ge {\frac1{540}}$, while the expression we want to maximize is $x_1(x_2x_3 + x_5x_6 + x_6x_2) + x_4(x_2x_3 + x_5x_6 + x_3x_5)$. Adding the left side of the constraint to the expression, we get: $(x_1 + x_4)(x_2x_3 + x_5x_6 + x_6x_2 + x_3x_5) = (x_1 + x_4)(x_2 + x_5)(x_3 + x_6)$. This new expression is the product of three non-negative terms whose sum is equal to 1. By AM-GM this product is at most $\frac1{27}$. Since we have added at least $\frac{1}{540}$ the desired maximum is at most $\frac1{27} - \frac1{540} =\frac{19}{540}$. It is easy to see that this upper bound can in fact be achieved by ensuring that the constraint expression is equal to $\frac1{540}$ with $x_1 + x_4 = x_2 + x_5 = x_3 + x_6 =\frac13$—for example, by choosing $x_1$ and $x_2$ small enough—so our answer is $540 + 19 = \fbox{559}.$

An example is: \begin{align*} x_3 &= x_6 = \frac16 \\ x_1 &= x_2 = \frac{5 - \sqrt{20}}{30} \\ x_5 &= x_4 = \frac{5 + \sqrt{20}}{30} \end{align*}

Another example is \begin{align*} x_1 = x_3 = \frac{1}{3} \\ x_2 = \frac{19}{60}, \ x_5 = \frac{1}{60} \\ x_4 &= x_6 = 0 \end{align*}

Solution 2 (Not legit)

There's a symmetry between $x_1, x_3, x_5$ and $x_2,x_4,x_6$. Therefore, a good guess is that $a = x_1 = x_3 = x_5$ and $b = x_2 = x_4 = x_6$, at which point we know that $a+b = 1/3$, $a^3+b^3 \geq 1/540$, and we are trying to maximize $3a^2b+3ab^2$. Then,

\[3a^3b+3ab^2 = (a+b)^3-a^3-b^3 \leq 1/27 - 1/540 = 19/540\] which is the answer.

This solution is extremely lucky; if you attempt to solve for $a$ and $b$ you receive complex answers (which contradict the problem statement), but the final answer is correct.

See also

2011 AIME II (ProblemsAnswer KeyResources)
Preceded by
Problem 8
Followed by
Problem 10
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15
All AIME Problems and Solutions

The problems on this page are copyrighted by the Mathematical Association of America's American Mathematics Competitions. AMC logo.png

Invalid username
Login to AoPS