2015 AMC 12A Problems/Problem 24
Rational numbers and are chosen at random among all rational numbers in the interval that can be written as fractions where and are integers with . What is the probability that is a real number?
Let and . Consider the binomial expansion of the expression:
We notice that the only terms with are the second and the fourth terms. Thus for the expression to be a real number, either or must be , or the second term and the fourth term cancel each other out (because in the fourth term, you have ).
Either or is .
The two satisfying this are and , and the two satisfying this are and . Because and can both be expressed as fractions with a denominator less than or equal to , there are a total of possible values for and :
Calculating the total number of sets of results in sets. Calculating the total number of invalid sets (sets where doesn't equal or and doesn't equal or ), resulting in .
Thus the number of valid sets is .
: The two terms cancel.
We then have:
which means for a given value of or , there are valid values(one in each quadrant).
When either or are equal to , however, there are only two corresponding values. We don't count the sets where either or equals , for we would get repeated sets. We also exclude values where the denominator is an odd number, for we cannot find any corresponding values(for example, if is , then must be , which we don't have). Thus the total number of sets for this case is .
Thus, our final answer is , which is .
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