# 1997 AIME Problems/Problem 12

## Problem

The function $f$ defined by $f(x)= \frac{ax+b}{cx+d}$, where $a$,$b$,$c$ and $d$ are nonzero real numbers, has the properties $f(19)=19$, $f(97)=97$ and $f(f(x))=x$ for all values except $\frac{-d}{c}$. Find the unique number that is not in the range of $f$.

## Solution

First, we note that $e = \frac ac$ is the horizontal asymptote of the function, and since this is a linear function over a linear function, the unique number not in the range of $f$ will be $e$. $\frac{ax+b}{cx+d} = \frac{b-\frac{cd}{a}}{cx+d} + \frac{a}{c}$. Without loss of generality, let $c=1$, so the function becomes $\frac{b- \frac{d}{a}}{x+d} + e$.

(Considering $\infty$ as a limit) By the given, $f(f(\infty)) = \infty$. $\lim_{x \rightarrow \infty} f(x) = e$, so $f(e) = \infty$. $f(x) \rightarrow \infty$ as $x$ reaches the vertical asymptote, which is at $-\frac{d}{c} = -d$. Hence $e = -d$. Substituting the givens, we get

$\begin{eqnarray*} 17 &=& \frac{b - \frac da}{17 - e} + e\\ 97 &=& \frac{b - \frac da}{97 - e} + e\\ b - \frac da &=& (17 - e)^2 = (97 - e)^2\\ 17 - e &=& \pm (97 - e) \end{eqnarray*}$

Clearly we can discard the positive root, so $e = \box{58}$ (Error compiling LaTeX. ! Missing number, treated as zero.).