2008 iTest Problems/Problem 59

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Problem

Let $a$ and $b$ be relatively prime positive integers such that $\dfrac ab=\dfrac1{2^1}+\dfrac2{3^2}+\dfrac3{2^3}+\dfrac4{3^4}+\dfrac5{2^5}+\dfrac6{3^6}+\cdots$, where the numerators always increase by $1$, and the denominators alternate between powers of $2$ and $3$, with exponents also increasing by $1$ for each subsequent term. Compute $a+b$.

Solution

The sum can be split into two groups of numbers that we want to add: $\tfrac12 + \tfrac{3}{2^3} + \tfrac{5}{2^5} \cdots$ and $\tfrac{2}{3^2} + \tfrac{4}{3^4} + \tfrac{6}{3^6} \cdots$


Let $X$ be the sum of the first sequence, so we have \begin{align*} X &= \frac12 + \frac{3}{2^3} + \frac{5}{2^5} \cdots \\ \frac{X}{4} &= 0 + \frac{1}{2^3} + \frac{3}{2^5} \cdots \\ \frac{3}{4}X &= \frac12 + \frac{2}{2^3} + \frac{2}{2^5} \cdots \\ \frac{3}{4}X &= \frac12 + \frac{\tfrac14}{\tfrac34} \\ \frac{3}{4}X &= \frac56 \\ X &= \frac{10}{9} \end{align*}

Let $Y$ be the sum of the second sequence, so we have \begin{align*} Y &= \frac{2}{3^2} + \frac{4}{3^4} + \frac{6}{3^6} \cdots \\ \frac{1}{9}Y &= 0 + \frac{2}{3^4} + \frac{4}{3^6} \cdots \\ \frac{8}{9}Y &= \frac{2}{3^2} + \frac{2}{3^4} + \frac{2}{3^6} \cdots \\ \frac{8}{9}Y &= \frac{\frac29}{\frac89} \\ Y &= \frac14 \cdot \frac98 \\ &= \frac{9}{32} \end{align*} That means $\tfrac{a}{b} = \tfrac{10}{9} + \tfrac{9}{32} = \tfrac{401}{288},$ so $a+b = \boxed{689}.$

See Also

2008 iTest (Problems)
Preceded by:
Problem 58
Followed by:
Problem 60
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