1992 AIME Problems/Problem 8

Revision as of 23:10, 16 November 2014 by KRIS17 (talk | contribs) (Solution 3)

Problem

For any sequence of real numbers $A=(a_1,a_2,a_3,\ldots)$, define $\Delta A^{}_{}$ to be the sequence $(a_2-a_1,a_3-a_2,a_4-a_3,\ldots)$, whose $n^\mbox{th}_{}$ (Error compiling LaTeX. ! Missing { inserted.) term is $a_{n+1}-a_n^{}$. Suppose that all of the terms of the sequence $\Delta(\Delta A^{}_{})$ are $1^{}_{}$, and that $a_{19}=a_{92}^{}=0$. Find $a_1^{}$.

Solution

Note that the $\Delta$s are reminiscent of differentiation; from the condition $\Delta(\Delta{A}) = 1$, we are led to consider the differential equation \[\frac{d^2 A}{dn^2} = 1\] This inspires us to guess a quadratic with leading coefficient 1/2 as the solution; \[a_{n} = \frac{1}{2}(n-19)(n-92)\] as we must have roots at $n = 19$ and $n = 92$.

Thus, $a_1=\frac{1}{2}(1-19)(1-92)=\boxed{819}$.

Solution 2

Let $\Delta^1 A=\Delta A$, and $\Delta^n A=\Delta(\Delta^{(n-1)}A)$.

Note that in every sequence of $a_i$, $a_n=\binom{n-1}{1}\Delta a_n + \binom{n-1}{2}\Delta^2 a_n +\binom{n-1}{3}\Delta^3 a_n + ...$

Then $a_n=a_1 +\binom{n-1}{1}\Delta a_1 +\binom{n-1}{2}\Delta^2 a_1 +\binom{n-1}{3}\Delta^3 a_1 + ...$

Since $\Delta a_1 =a_2 -a_1$, $a_n=a_1 +\binom{n-1}{1}(a_2-a_1) +\binom{n-1}{2}\cdot 1=a_1 +n(a_2-a_1) +\binom{n-1}{2}$

$a_{19}=0=a_1+18(a_2-a_1)+\binom{18}{2}=18a_2-17a_1+153$

$a_{92}=0=a_1+91(a_2-a_1)+\binom{91}{2}=91a_2-90a_1+4095$

Solving, $a_1=\boxed{819}$.

Solution 3

Write out and add first $k-1$ terms of the second finite difference sequence:

$a_3+a_1-2*a_2=1$

$a_4+a_2-2*a_3=1$

$a_k + a_{k-2} - 2*a_{k-1} = 1$

$a_{k+1} + a_{k-1} - 2*a_k = 1$

Adding the above $k-1$ equations we get:

$\boxed{(a_{k+1} - a_k) = k-1 + (a_2-a_1)} --- (1)$

Now taking sum $k = 1$ to $18$ in equation $(1)$ we get: $18*(a_1-a_2) - a_1 = 153 --- (2)$

Now taking sum $k = 1$ to $91$ in equation $(1)$ we get: $91*(a_1-a_2) - a_1 = 4095 --- (3)$

$18* (3) - 91*(2)$ gives $a_1=\boxed{819}$.

Kris17

See also

1992 AIME (ProblemsAnswer KeyResources)
Preceded by
Problem 7
Followed by
Problem 9
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15
All AIME Problems and Solutions

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