# Difference between revisions of "2018 AMC 10B Problems/Problem 20"

The following problem is from both the 2018 AMC 12B #18 and 2018 AMC 10B #20, so both problems redirect to this page.

## Problem

A function $f$ is defined recursively by $f(1)=f(2)=1$ and $$f(n)=f(n-1)-f(n-2)+n$$for all integers $n \geq 3$. What is $f(2018)$?

$\textbf{(A) } 2016 \qquad \textbf{(B) } 2017 \qquad \textbf{(C) } 2018 \qquad \textbf{(D) } 2019 \qquad \textbf{(E) } 2020$

## Solution 1 (Algebra)

For all integers $n \geq 7,$ note that \begin{align*} f(n)&=f(n-1)-f(n-2)+n \\ &=[f(n-2)-f(n-3)+n-1]-f(n-2)+n \\ &=-f(n-3)+2n-1 \\ &=-[f(n-4)-f(n-5)+n-3]+2n-1 \\ &=-f(n-4)+f(n-5)+n+2 \\ &=-[f(n-5)-f(n-6)+n-4]+f(n-5)+n+2 \\ &=f(n-6)+6. \end{align*} It follows that \begin{align*} f(2018)&=f(2012)+6 \\ &=f(2006)+12 \\ &=f(2000)+18 \\ & \ \vdots \\ &=f(2)+2016 \\ &=\boxed{\textbf{(B) } 2017}. \end{align*} ~MRENTHUSIASM

## Solution 2 (Algebra)

For all integers $n\geq3,$ we rearrange the given equation: $$f(n)-f(n-1)+f(n-2)=n. \hspace{28.25mm}(1)$$ For all integers $n\geq4,$ it follows that $$f(n-1)-f(n-2)+f(n-3)=n-1. \hspace{15mm}(2)$$ For all integers $n\geq4,$ we add $(1)$ and $(2):$ $$f(n)+f(n-3)=2n-1. \hspace{38.625mm}(3)$$ For all integers $n\geq7,$ it follows that $$f(n-3)+f(n-6)=2n-7. \hspace{32mm}(4)$$ For all integers $n\geq7,$ we subtract $(4)$ from $(3):$ $$f(n)-f(n-6)=6. \hspace{47.5mm}(5)$$ From $(5),$ we have the following system of $336$ equations: \begin{align*} f(2018)-f(2012)&=6, \\ f(2012)-f(2006)&=6, \\ f(2006)-f(2000)&=6, \\ & \ \vdots \\ f(8)-f(2)&=6. \end{align*} We add these equations up to get $$f(2018)-f(2)=6\cdot336=2016,$$ from which $f(2018)=f(2)+2016=\boxed{\textbf{(B) } 2017}.$

~AopsUser101 ~MRENTHUSIASM

## Solution 3 (Finite Differences)

Preamble: In this solution, we define the sequence $A$ to satisfy $a_n = f(n),$ where $a_n$ represents the $n$th term of the sequence $A.$ This solution will show a few different perspectives. Even though it may not be as quick as some of the solutions above, I feel like it is an interesting concept, and may be more motivated.

To begin, we consider the sequence $B$ formed when we take the difference of consecutive terms between $A.$ Define $b_n = a_{n+1} - a_n.$ Notice that for $n \ge 4,$ we have

\begin{cases}\begin{aligned} a_{n+1} &= a_{n} - a_{n-1} + (n+1) \\ a_{n} &= a_{n-1} - a_{n-2} + n \end{aligned}.\end{cases}

Notice that subtracting the second equation from the first, we see that $b_{n} = b_{n-1} - b_{n-2} + 1.$

If you didn’t notice that $B$ repeated directly in the solution above, you could also, possibly more naturally, take the finite differences of the sequence $b_n$ so that you could define $c_n = b_{n+1} - b_n.$ Using a similar method as above through reindexing and then subtracting, you could find that $c_n = c_{n-1} - c_{n-2}.$ The sum of any six consecutive terms of a sequence which satisfies such a recursion is $0,$ in which you have that $b_{n} = b_{n+6}.$ In the case in which finite differences didn’t reduce to such a special recursion, you could still find the first few terms of $C$ to see if there are any patterns, now that you have a much simpler sequence. Doing so in this case, it can also be seen by seeing that the sequence $C$ looks like $$\underbrace{2, 1, -1, -2, -1, 1,}_{\text{cycle period}} 2, 1, -1, -2, -1, 1, \ldots$$ in which the same result follows.

Using the fact that $B$ repeats every six terms, this motivates us to look at the sequence $B$ more carefully. Doing so, we see that $B$ looks like $$\underbrace{2, 3, 2, 0, -1, 0,}_{\text{cycle period}} 2, 3, 2, 0, -1, 0, \ldots$$ (If you tried pattern finding on sequence $B$ directly, you could also arrive at this result, although I figured defining a second sequence based on finite differences was more motivated.)

Now, there are two ways to finish.

Finish Method #1: Notice that any six consecutive terms of $B$ sum to $6,$ after which we see that $a_n = a_{n-6} + 6.$ Therefore, $a_{2018} = a_{2012} + 6 = \cdots = a_{2} + 2016 = \boxed{\textbf{(B) } 2017}.$

Finish Method #2: Notice that $a_{2018} = a_{2017} - a_{2016} + 2018 = B_{2016} + 2018 = -1 + 2018 = \boxed{\textbf{(B) } 2017}.$

~Professor-Mom

## Solution 4 (Bash)

Start out by listing some terms of the sequence. \begin{align*} f(1)&=1 \\ f(2)&=1 \\ f(3)&=3 \\ f(4)&=6 \\ f(5)&=8 \\ f(6)&=8 \\ f(7)&=7 \\ f(8)&=7 \\ f(9)&=9 \\ f(10)&=12 \\ f(11)&=14 \\ f(12)&=14 \\ f(13)&=13 \\ f(14)&=13 \\ f(15)&=15 \\ & \ \vdots \end{align*} Notice that $f(n)=n$ whenever $n$ is an odd multiple of $3$, and the pattern of numbers that follow will always be $+2$, $+3$, $+2$, $+0$, $-1$, $+0$. The largest odd multiple of $3$ smaller than $2018$ is $2013$, so we have \begin{align*} f(2013)&=2013 \\ f(2014)&=2016 \\ f(2015)&=2018 \\ f(2016)&=2018 \\ f(2017)&=2017 \\ f(2018)&=\boxed{\textbf{(B) } 2017}. \end{align*} minor edits by bunny1

## Solution 5 (Bash)

Writing out the first few values, we get $$1,1,3,6,8,8,7,7,9,12,14,14,13,13,15,18,20,20,19,19,\ldots.$$ We see that every number $x$ where $x \equiv 1\pmod 6$ has $f(x)=x,f(x+1)=f(x)=x,$ and $f(x-1)=f(x-2)=x+1.$ The greatest number that's $1\pmod{6}$ and less $2018$ is $2017,$ so we have $f(2017)=f(2018)=\boxed{\textbf{(B) } 2017}.$

~bunny1

~savannahsolver

## See Also

 2018 AMC 10B (Problems • Answer Key • Resources) Preceded byProblem 19 Followed byProblem 21 1 • 2 • 3 • 4 • 5 • 6 • 7 • 8 • 9 • 10 • 11 • 12 • 13 • 14 • 15 • 16 • 17 • 18 • 19 • 20 • 21 • 22 • 23 • 24 • 25 All AMC 10 Problems and Solutions
 2018 AMC 12B (Problems • Answer Key • Resources) Preceded byProblem 17 Followed byProblem 19 1 • 2 • 3 • 4 • 5 • 6 • 7 • 8 • 9 • 10 • 11 • 12 • 13 • 14 • 15 • 16 • 17 • 18 • 19 • 20 • 21 • 22 • 23 • 24 • 25 All AMC 12 Problems and Solutions

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