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2006 AIME I Problems/Problem 6

Problem

Let $\mathcal{S}$ be the set of real numbers that can be represented as repeating decimals of the form $0.\overline{abc}$ where $a, b, c$ are distinct digits. Find the sum of the elements of $\mathcal{S}.$

Solution

Numbers of the form $0.\overline{abc}$ can be written as $\frac{abc}{999}$. There are $10\times9\times8=720$ such numbers. Each digit will appear in each place value $\frac{720}{10}=72$ times, and the sum of the digits, 0 through 9, is 45. So the sum of all the numbers is $\frac{45\times72\times111}{999}= \boxed{360}$.

Alternatively, for every number, $0.\overline{abc}$, there will be exactly one other number, such that when they are added together, the sum is $0.\overline{999}$, or, more precisely, 1. As an example, $.\overline{123}+.\overline{876}=.\overline{999} \Longrightarrow 1$.

Thus, the solution can be determined by dividing the total number of permutations by 2. The answer is $\frac{10 \cdot 9 \cdot 8}{2} = \frac{720}{2}= \boxed{360}$.

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