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IMOMATH - Pell's Equation

IMOMATH - Pell's Equation

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Published by Dijkschneier
c 2007 The Author(s) and The IMO Compendium Group

Pell’s Equation
Duˇan Djuki´ s c

Contents
1 2 3 Introduction . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Pell-type Equations . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Problems with Solutions . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1 3 3

1

Introduction

Definition 1. Pell’s equation is a diophantine equation of the form x2 − dy2 = 1, x, y ∈ Z, where d is a giv
c 2007 The Author(s) and The IMO Compendium Group

Pell’s Equation
Duˇan Djuki´ s c

Contents
1 2 3 Introduction . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Pell-type Equations . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Problems with Solutions . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1 3 3

1

Introduction

Definition 1. Pell’s equation is a diophantine equation of the form x2 − dy2 = 1, x, y ∈ Z, where d is a giv

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c
2007 The Author(s) and The IMO Compendium Group
Pell’s Equation
Duˇsan Djuki´c
Contents
1 Introduction . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 12 Pell-type Equations . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 33 Problems with Solutions . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 3
1 Introduction
Definition 1.
Pell’s equation
is a diophantine equation of the form x
2
dy
2
=
1
 , x
,
 y
Z
 , where d is a given natural number which is not a square. An equationof the form x
2
dy
2
=
a for an integera is usually referred to as a
Pell-typeequation
.
An arbitrary quadratic diophantine equation with two unknowns can be reduced to a Pell-typeequation. How can such equations be solved? Recall that the generalsolution of a linear diophantineequation is a linear function of some parameters. This does not happen with general quadratic dio-phantine equations. However, as we will see later, in the case of such equations with two unknownsthere still is a relatively simple formula describing the general solution.Why does the definition of Pell’s equations assume
is not a square? Well, for
=
c
2
,
c
Z
,the equation
x
2
dy
2
=
a
can be factored as
(
 x
cy
)(
 x
+
cy
) =
a
and therefore solved without usingany further theory. So, unless noted otherwise,
will always be assumed not to be a square.The equation
x
2
dy
2
=
a
can still be factored as
(
 x
+
 y
)(
 x
 y
) =
a
.
In order to be able to make use of this factorization,we must deal with numbersof the form
x
+
 y
,where
x
,
 y
are integers. This set is denoted by
Z
[
]
. An important property of this set is that thesum and product of two of its elements remain in the set (i.e. this set is really a ring).
Definition 2.
The
conjugate
of number z
=
x
+
 y
d is defined as z
=
x
 y
d, and its
norm
as N 
(
 z
) =
zz
=
x
2
dy
2
Z
.
Theorem 1.
The norm and the conjugate are multiplicative in z: N 
(
 z
1
 z
2
) =
(
 z
1
)
 N 
(
 z
2
)
and z
1
 z
2
=
 z
1
·
 z
2
.
Proof 
is straightforward.
In terms of these concepts, equation
x
2
dy
2
=
a
can be rewritten as
 N 
(
 z
) =
a
,
where
z
=
x
 y
Z
[
]
.
In particular, the Pell’s equation becomes
(
 z
) =
1,
z
Z
[
]
. We continue using these notationregularly.
 
2
Olympiad Training Materials, www.imomath.com
Since
z
is a solution to a Pell-type equation if and only if so is
 z
, we always assume w.l.o.g.that
z
>
0.Solutions of a Pell’s EquationA Pell’s equation has one trivial solution,
(
 x
,
 y
) = (
1
,
0
)
, correspondingto solution
z
=
1 of equation
 N 
(
 z
) =
1. But if we know the smallest
non-trivial
solution, then we can deriveall the solutions. Thisis what the following statement claims.
Theorem 2.
If z
0
is the minimal element of 
Z
[
]
with z
0
>
1
and N 
(
 z
0
) =
1
 , then all the elements z
Z
[
]
with Nz
=
1
are given by z
=
±
 z
n
0
 , n
Z
.
Proof.
Suppose that
(
 z
) =
1 for some
z
>
0. There is a unique integer
for which
z
0
 z
<
z
+
10
.Then the number
z
1
=
zz
0
=
zz
0
satisfies 1
 z
1
<
z
0
and
(
 z
1
) =
(
 z
)
 N 
(
 z
0
)
=
(
 z
) =
1. Itfollows from the minimality of 
z
0
that
z
1
=
1 and hence
z
=
z
0
.
Corrolary.
If 
(
 x
0
,
 y
0
)
is the smallest solution of the Pell’s equation with
given, then all naturalsolutions
(
 x
,
 y
)
of the equation are given by
x
+
 y
=
±
(
 x
0
+
 y
0
)
n
,
n
N
.Note that
z
=
x
+
 y
determines
x
and
y
by the formulas
x
=
z
+
 z
2
and
y
=
z
 z
2
. Thus all thesolutions of the Pell’s equation are given by the formulas
 x
=
z
n
0
+
 z
0
n
2i
y
=
z
n
0
 z
0
n
2
.
Example1.
The smallest non-trivialsolution of the equationx
2
2
 y
2
=
1
is
(
 x
,
 y
) = (
3
,
2
)
. Therefore for every solution
(
 x
,
 y
)
there is an integer n such that x
+
 y
=
±
(
3
+
2
2
)
n
. Thus x
=(
3
+
2
2
)
n
+(
3
2
2
)
n
2
,
y
=(
3
+
2
2
)
n
(
3
2
2
)
n
2
2
.
Now we will show that every Pell’s equation indeed has a non-trivial solution.
Lemma 1 (Dirichlet’s theorem).
Let 
α 
be an irrational number and n be a positive integer. Thereexist p
Z
and q
{
1
,
2
,...,
n
}
such that 
α 
pq
<
1
(
n
+
1
)
q
.
Proof.
The stated inequality is equivalent to
|
q
α 
 p
|
<
1
n
+
1
.Let, as usual,
{
 x
}
denote the fractional part of real
x
. Among the
n
+
2 numbers 0,
{
α 
}
,
{
2
α 
}
,
...
,
{
n
α 
}
, 1 in the segment
[
0
,
1
]
, some two will differ by less than
1
n
+
1
. If such are the numbers
{
α 
}
and
{
l
α 
}
, it is enough to set
q
=
|
l
|
; and if such are
{
α 
}
and 0 or 1, it is enough to set
q
=
. In either case,
p
is the integer closest to
α 
.
Lemma 2.
If 
α 
is an arbitrary real number, then there exist infinitely many pairs of positive integers
(
 p
,
q
)
satisfying
α 
pq
<
1
q
2
.
Proof 
immediately follows from Dirichlet’s theorem.
Theorem 3.
A Pell’s equation has a solution in the set of positive integers.
Proof.
Applying L.2 to
α 
=
, we see that there exists an integer
n
with
|
n
|
<
2
+
1 suchthat the equation
x
2
dy
2
=
n
has infinitely many positive integral solutions
(
 x
,
 y
)
. It follows thatthere are two different ones, say
(
 x
1
,
 y
1
)
i
(
 x
2
,
 y
2
)
, that satisfy
x
1
 x
2
and
y
1
 y
2
(mod
n
). Denote
 z
1
=
x
1
+
 y
1
and
z
2
=
x
2
+
 y
2
and assume
z
1
>
 z
2
. Then
z
0
=
z
1
/
 z
2
>
1 is an element of 
Z
[
]
of norm 1 and corresponds to a non-trivial solution
(
 x
0
,
 y
0
)
of the Pell’s equation.
 
Duˇ san Djuki´ c: Pell’s Equation
3
2 Pell-type Equations
A Pell-type equationin general may not have integer solutions (for example, the equation
 x
2
3
 y
2
=
2). When it does, it is possible to describe the general solution.
Theorem 4.
Equation x
2
dy
2
=
1
has an integral solution if and only if there exists z
1
Z
[
]
with z
21
=
z
0
.
Proof.
The ”if” part is trivial. For the other direction we consider the smallest solution
z
=
z
1
Z
[
]
of the equation
(
 z
) =
1 satisfying
z
>
1 and, like in theorem 2, deduce that 1
 z
1
<
z
0
.Since
z
=
z
21
<
z
20
is a solution of 
(
 z
) =
1, we must have
z
21
=
z
0
.
Considerthe generalequation
 N 
(
 z
) =
a
. Like in the theorem1, one can showthat all its solutionscan be obtained from the solutions
z
with 1
 z
 z
0
, where
z
0
is the smallest non-trivial solution of Pell’s equation
(
 z
) =
1. Thus it is always sufficient to check finitely many values of 
x
. Moreover,there is a simple upper bound for those
x
.
Theorem 5.
If a is an integer such that the equation N 
(
 z
) =
x
2
dy
2
=
a has an integer solution,then there is a solution with
|
 x
|
z
0
+
12
 z
0
 
|
a
|
and the corresponding upper bound for y
=
 
 x
2
a
.
Proof.
If 
z
1
is a solution of the equation
(
 z
) =
a
, then there is
m
Z
for which
a
/
 z
0
 z
m
0
z
1
<
a
 z
0
. Then
z
2
=
z
m
0
z
1
=
x
+
 y
is a solution of the equation
(
 z
) =
1 and satisfies2
|
 x
|
=
 z
2
+
a z
2
max
[
a
/
 z
0
,
a
 z
0
)
+
a
=
z
0
+
1
 z
0
 
|
a
|
.
Example 2.
Find all integer solutions of x
2
7
 y
2
=
2
.
Solution.
The mimimal solution of the correspondingPell’s equation is
z
0
=
8
+
3
7. We must findthe solutions
z
=
x
+
 y
7 of 
(
 z
) =
2 satisfying
x
z
0
+
12
 z
0
a
=
3 and
y
=
 
 x
2
27
1. The onlysuch solution is
z
=
3
+
7. It follows that all solutions
(
 x
,
 y
)
of the given equation are given by
 x
+
 y
7
=
±
(
3
+
7
)(
8
+
3
7
)
n
,
n
N
.
3 Problems with Solutions
1. Solve in integers the equation
x
2
+
 y
2
1
=
4
 xy
.
Solution.
Substituting
u
=
y
2
 x
reduces the equation to
u
2
=
3
 x
2
+
1 whose general solutionis given by
x
+
u
3
= (
2
+
3
)
n
.2. For a given integer
, solve
x
2
dy
2
=
1 u skupu
racionalnih
brojeva.
Solution.
No knowledgeof Pell’s equationis requiredhere. For
x
=
1 we have
y x
1
=
x
+
1
 y
.Setting
y x
1
=
Q
we easily obtain
x
=
dt 
2
+
1
dt 
2
1
i
y
=
2
dt 
2
1
.3. Let
(
 x
,
 y
) = (
a
,
b
)
,
a
,
b
N
be the smallest integer solution of 
x
2
dy
2
=
1. Consider thesequence defined by
y
0
=
0,
y
1
=
b
,
y
n
+
1
=
2
ay
n
 y
n
1
for
n
1. Show that
ay
2
n
+
1 is asquare for each
n
. Show that if 
ay
2
+
1 is a square for some
y
N
, then
y
=
y
n
for some
n
.
Solution.
Let
x
n
+
 y
n
=
a
+
b
n
. All solutions
(
 x
,
 y
)
of 
x
2
=
ay
2
+
1 are given by
(
 x
,
 y
) =(
 x
n
,
 y
n
)
for some
n
. We have
 y
n
=
12

a
+
b
n
a
b
n
.
(
1
)

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