2019 AIME II Problems/Problem 4

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Problem 4

A standard six-sided fair die is rolled four times. The probability that the product of all four numbers rolled is a perfect square is $\tfrac{m}{n}$, where $m$ and $n$ are relatively prime positive integers. Find $m+n$.


Notice that, other than the number 5, the remaining numbers 1, 2, 3, 4, 6 are only divisible by 2 and/or 3. We can do some cases on the number of 5's rolled (note that there are $6^4 = 1296$ outcomes).

Case 1 (easy): Four 5's are rolled. This has probability $\frac{1}{6^4}$ of occurring.

Case 2: Two 5's are rolled.

Case 3: No 5's are rolled.

To find the number of outcomes for the latter two cases, we will use recursion. Consider a 5-sided die with faces numbered 1, 2, 3, 4, 6. For $n \ge 1$, let $a_n$ equal the number of outcomes after rolling the die $n$ times, with the property that the product is a square. Thus, $a_1 = 2$ as 1 and 4 are the only possibilities.

To find $a_{n+1}$ given $a_n$ (where $n \ge 1$), we observe that if the first $n$ rolls multiply to a perfect square, then the last roll must be 1 or 4. This gives $2a_n$ outcomes. Otherwise, the first $n$ rolls do not multiply to a perfect square ($5^n - a_n$ outcomes). In this case, we claim that the last roll is uniquely determined (either 2, 3, or 6). If the product of the first $n$ rolls is $2^x 3^y$ where $x$ and $y$ are not both even, then we observe that if $x$ and $y$ are both odd, then the last roll must be 6; if only $x$ is odd, the last roll must be 2, and if only $y$ is odd, the last roll must be 3. Thus, we have $5^n - a_n$ outcomes in this case, and $a_{n+1} = 2a_n + (5^n - a_n) = 5^n + a_n$.

Computing $a_2$, $a_3$, $a_4$ gives $a_2 = 7$, $a_3 = 32$, and $a_4 = 157$. Thus for Case 3, there are 157 outcomes. For case 2, we multiply by $\binom{4}{2} = 6$ to distribute the two 5's among four rolls. Thus the probability is

\[\frac{1 + 6 \cdot 7 + 157}{6^4} = \frac{200}{6^4} = \frac{25}{162} \implies m+n = \boxed{187}\]


See Also

2019 AIME II (ProblemsAnswer KeyResources)
Preceded by
Problem 3
Followed by
Problem 5
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15
All AIME Problems and Solutions

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