2023 AMC 12B Problems/Problem 23


When $n$ standard six-sided dice are rolled, the product of the numbers rolled can be any of $936$ possible values. What is $n$?


Solution 1

We start by trying to prove a function of $n$, and then we can apply the function and equate it to $936$ to find the value of $n$.

It is helpful to think of this problem in the format $(1+2+3+4+5+6) \cdot (1+2+3+4+5+6) \dots$. Note that if we represent the scenario in this manner, we can think of picking a $1$ for one factor and then a $5$ for another factor to form their product - this is similar thinking to when we have the factorized form of a polynomial. Unfortunately this is not quite accurate to the problem because we can reach the same product in many ways: for example for $n=2$, $4$ can be reached by picking $1$ and $4$ or $2$ and $2$. However, this form gives us insights that will be useful later in the problem.

Note that there are only $3$ primes in the set $\{1,2,3,4,5,6\}$: $2,3,$ and $5$. Thus if we're forming the product of possible values of a dice roll, the product has to be written in the form $2^h \cdot 3^i \cdot 5^j$ (the choice of variables will become clear later), for integer nonnegative values $h,i,j$. So now the problem boils down to how many distinct triplets $(h,i,j)$ can be formed by taking the product of $n$ dice values.

We start our work on representing $j$: the powers of $5$, because it is the simplest in this scenario because there is only one factor of $5$ in the set. Because of this, having $j$ fives in our prime factorization of the product is equivalent to picking $j$ factors from the polynomial $(1+\dots + 6) \cdots$ and choosing each factor to be a $5$. Now that we've selected $j$ factors, there are $n-j$ factors remaining to choose our powers of $3$ and $2$.

Suppose our prime factorization of this product contains $i$ powers of $3$. These powers of $3$ can either come from a $3$ factor or a $6$ factor, but since both $3$ and $6$ contain only one power of $3$, this means that a product with $i$ powers of $3$ corresponds directly to picking $i$ factors from the polynomial, each of which is either $3$ or $6$ (but this distinction doesn't matter when we consider only the powers of $3$.

Now we can reframe the problem again. Our method will be as follows: Suppose we choose an arbitrary pair $(i,j)$ that match the requirements, corresponding to the number of $3$'s and the number of $5$'s our product will have. Then how many different $h$ values for the powers of $2$ are possible?

In the $i+j$ factors we have already chosen, we obviously can't have any factors of $2$ in the $j$ factors with $5$. However, we can have a factor of $2$ pairing with factors of $3$, if we choose a $6$. The maximal possible power of $2$ in these $i$ factors is thus $2^i$, which occurs when we pick every factor to be $6$.

We now have $n-i-j$ factors remaining, and we want to allocate these to solely powers of $2$. For each of these factors, we can choose either a $1,2,$ or $4$. Therefore the maximal power of $2$ achieved in these factors is when we pick $4$ for all of them, which is equivalent to $2^{2\cdot (n-i-j)}$.

Now if we multiply this across the total $n$ factors (or $n$ dice) we have a total of $2^{2n-2i-2j} \cdot 2^i = 2^{2n-i-2j}$, which is the maximal power of $2$ attainable in the product for a pair $(i,j)$. Now note that every power of $2$ below this power is attainable: we can simply just take away a power of $2$ from an existing factor by dividing by $2$. Therefore the powers of $2$, and thus the $h$ value ranges from $h=0$ to $h=2n-i-2j$, so there are a total of $2n+1-i-2j$ distinct values for $h$ for a given pair $(i,j)$.

Now to find the total number of distinct triplets, we must sum this across all possible $i$s and $j$s. Lets take note of our restrictions on $i,j$: the only restriction is that $i+j \leq n$, since we're picking factors from $n$ dice.

\[\sum_{i+j\leq n}^{} 2n+1-i-2j = \sum_{i+j \leq n}^{} 2n+1 - \sum_{i+j \leq n}^{} i+2j\]

We start by calculating the first term. $2n+1$ is constant, so we just need to find out how many pairs there are such that $i+j \leq n$. Set $i$ to $0$: $j$ can range from $0$ to $n$, then set $i$ to $1$: $j$ can range from $0$ to $n-1$, etc. The total number of pairs is thus $n+1+n+n-1+\dots+1 = \frac{(n+1)(n+2)}{2}$. Therefore the left summation evaluates to \[\frac{(2n+1)(n+1)(n+2)}{2}\]

Now we calculate $\sum_{i+j \leq n}^{} i+2j$. This simplifies to $\sum_{i+j \leq n}^{} i + 2 \cdot \sum_{i+j \leq n}^{} j$. Note that because $i+j = n$ is symmetric with respect to $i,j$, the sum of $i$ in all of the pairs will be equal to the sum of $j$ in all of the pairs. Thus this is equal to calculating $3 \cdot \sum_{i+j \leq n}^{} i$.

In the pairs, $i=1$ appears for $j$ ranging between $0$ and $n-1$ so the sum here is $1 \cdot (n)$. Similarly $i=2$ appears for $j$ ranging from $0$ to $n-2$, so the sum is $2 \cdot (n-1)$. If we continue the pattern, the sum overall is $(n)+2 \cdot (n-1) + 3 \cdot (n-2) + \dots + (n) \cdot 1$. We can rearrange this as $((n)+(n-1)+ \dots + 1) + ((n-1)+(n-2)+ \dots + 1)+ ((n-2)+(n-3)+ \dots + 1) + \dots + 1)$

\[= \frac{(n)(n+1)}{2} + \frac{(n-1)(n)}{2}+ \dots + 1\]

We can write this in easier terms as $\sum_{k=0}^{n} \frac{(k)(k+1)}{2} = \frac{1}{2} \cdot \sum_{k=0}^{n} k^2+k$ \[=\frac{1}{2} \cdot( \sum_{k=0}^{n} k^2 + \sum_{k=0}^{n} k)\] \[= \frac{1}{2} \cdot ( \frac{(n)(n+1)(2n+1)}{6} + \frac{(n)(n+1)}{2})\] \[= \frac{1}{2} \cdot ( \frac{(n)(n+1)(2n+1)}{6} + \frac{3n(n+1)}{6}) = \frac{1}{2} \cdot \frac{n(n+1)(2n+4)}{6}\] \[= \frac{n(n+1)(n+2)}{6}\]

We multiply this by $3$ to obtain that \[\sum_{i+j \leq n}^{} i+2j = \frac{n(n+1)(n+2)}{2}\]

Thus our final answer for the number of distinct triplets $(h,i,j)$ is: \[\sum_{i+j\leq n}^{} 2n+1-i-2j = \frac{(2n+1)(n+1)(n+2)}{2} - \frac{n(n+1)(n+2)}{2}\] \[= \frac{(n+1)(n+2)}{2} \cdot (2n+1-n) = \frac{(n+1)(n+2)}{2} \cdot (n+1)\] \[= \frac{(n+1)^2(n+2)}{2}\]

Now most of the work is done. We set this equal to $936$ and prime factorize. $936 = 12 \cdot 78 = 2^3 \cdot 3^2 \cdot 13$, so $(n+1)^2(n+2) = 936 \cdot 2 = 2^4 \cdot 3^2 \cdot 13$. Clearly $13$ cannot be anything squared and $2^4 \cdot 3^2$ is a perfect square, so $n+2 = 13$ and $n = 11 = \boxed{A}$


Solution 2

The product can be written as \begin{align*} 2^a 3^b 4^c 5^d 6^e & = 2^{a + 2c + e} 3^{b + e} 5^d . \end{align*}

Therefore, we need to find the number of ordered tuples $\left( a + 2c + e, b+e, d \right)$ where $a$, $b$, $c$, $d$, $e$ are non-negative integers satisfying $a+b+c+d+e \leq n$. We denote this number as $f(n)$.

Denote by $g \left( k \right)$ the number of ordered tuples $\left( a + 2c + e, b+e \right)$ where $\left( a, b, c, e \right) \in \Delta_k$ with $\Delta_k \triangleq \left\{ (a,b,c,e) \in \Bbb Z_+^4: a+b+c+e \leq k \right\}$.

Thus, \begin{align*} f \left( n \right) & = \sum_{d = 0}^n g \left( n - d \right) \\ & = \sum_{k = 0}^n g \left( k \right)  . \end{align*}

Next, we compute $g \left( k \right)$.

Denote $i = b + e$. Thus, for each given $i$, the range of $a + 2c + e$ is from 0 to $2 k - i$. Thus, the number of $\left( a + 2c + e, b + e \right)$ is \begin{align*} g \left( k \right) & = \sum_{i=0}^k \left( 2 k - i + 1 \right) \\ & = \frac{1}{2} \left( k + 1 \right) \left( 3 k + 2 \right) . \end{align*}

Therefore, \begin{align*} f \left( n \right) & = \sum_{k = 0}^n g \left( k \right)  \\ & = \sum_{k=0}^n \frac{1}{2} \left( k + 1 \right) \left( 3 k + 2 \right) \\ & = \frac{3}{2} \sum_{k=0}^n \left( k + 1 \right)^2 - \frac{1}{2} \sum_{k=0}^n \left( k + 1 \right) \\ & = \frac{3}{2} \cdot \frac{1}{6} \left( n+1 \right) \left( n+2 \right) \left( 2n + 3 \right) - \frac{1}{2} \cdot \frac{1}{2} \left( n + 1 \right) \left( n + 2 \right) \\ & = \frac{1}{2} \left( n + 1 \right)^2 \left( n + 2 \right) . \end{align*}

By solving $f \left( n \right) = 936$, we get $n = \boxed{\textbf{(A) 11}}$.

~Steven Chen (Professor Chen Education Palace, www.professorchenedu.com)

Solution 3 (Cheese)

The product can be written as \begin{align*} 2^x 3^y 5^z \end{align*}

Letting $n=1$, we get $(x,y,z)=(0,0,0),(0,0,1),(0,1,0),(1,0,0),(1,1,0),(2,0,0)$, 6 possible values. But if the only restriction of the product if that $2x\le n,y\le n,z\le n$, we can get $(2+1)(1+1)(1+1)=12$ possible values. We calculate the ratio \[r = \frac{\text{possible values of real situation}}{\text{possible values of ideal situation}} = \frac{6}{12}=0.5.\]

Letting $n=2$, we get $(x,y,z)=(0,0,0),(0,0,1),(0,0,2),(0,1,0),(0,1,1),(1,0,0),(1,0,1),(1,1,0),(1,1,1),(1,2,0),$
$(2,0,0),(2,0,1),(2,1,0),(2,2,0),(3,0,0),(3,1,0),(4,0,0)$, 17 possible values. The number of possibilities in the ideal situation is $5*3*3=45$, making $r = 17/45 \approx 0.378$.

Now we can predict the trend of $r$: as $n$ increases, $r$ decreases. Letting $n=3$, you get possible values of ideal situation=$7*4*4=112$. $n=4$, the number=$9*5*5=225$.
$n=5$, the number=$11*6*6=396$.
$n=6$, the number=$13*7*7=637,637<936$ so 6 is not the answer.
$n=7$, the number=$15*8*8=960$.
$n=8$, the number=$17*9*9=1377$,but $1377*0.378$$521$ still much smaller than 936.
$n=9$, the number=$19*10*10=1900$,but $1900*0.378$$718$ still smaller than 936.
$n=10$, the number=$21*11*11=2541$, $2541*0.378$$960$ is a little bigger 936, but the quotient of (possible values of real situation)/(possible values of ideal situation) is much smaller than 0.378 now, so 10 is probably not the answer,so the answer is $\boxed{\textbf{(A) 11}}$.

Check calculation: $n=11$,the number=$23*12*12=3312$,$3312*0.378$$1252$ is much bigger than 936.


Solution 4 (Easy computation)

The key observation is if $P=2^a\cdot 3^b \cdot 5^c$, then given $b$ and $c$, $a$ can take any value from $0$ to $b+2d$ where $d=n-b-c$ is the number of rolls which is neither divisible by $3$ nor $5$. We are left to calculate \[\sum_{b+c\leq n} (b+2d+1)=\sum_{b+c+d=n} (b+2d+1).\] By symmetry, $\sum_{b+c+d=n} d = \sum_{b+c+d=n} c$. Therefore, \[\sum_{b+c\leq n}(b+2d+1)=\sum_{b+c\leq n}(b+c+d+1)=\sum_{b+c\leq n}(n+1)=(n+1)\binom{n+2}{2}.\]

The rest is the same as above.


Video Solution 1 by OmegaLearn


Video Solution



Video Solution


~Steven Chen (Professor Chen Education Palace, www.professorchenedu.com)

See Also

2023 AMC 12B (ProblemsAnswer KeyResources)
Preceded by
Problem 22
Followed by
Problem 24
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25
All AMC 12 Problems and Solutions

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