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Recursive Sequence

Recursive Sequence

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06/08/2010

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I recently investigated a strange recursive sequence:
x
n
n x
n
1
. I suppose the inspiration came fromthe recursive definition for the factorial function,
x
n
n x
n
1
, but it's completely unrelated and soirrelavant.So, what does this function look like? We can start out with
x
0
1 just to get the feel for it:1, 1, 2,
32
,
83
,
158
,
4815
165
,
3516
...You may notice that the terms are increasing and then decreasing after the initial term: the firstterm is less than the second, which is greater than the third, which is less than the fourth, and soon. My reaction upon seeing this was to assume the sequence was converging to some value- how-ever, looking a bit closer we notice that the terms are generally trending upward, (i.e. taking evennumbered and odd numbered terms as seperate sequences, we notice that they are both increasingsequences: 1, 2,
83
,
165
(evens) and 1,
32
,
158
,
3516
(odds) are both monotonic increasing. The threegraphs below demonstrate this: the orange line connects the even numbered terms, the green is theodd numbered ones, and the blue is the actual sequence.

In[143]:=
x
n_
:
N
nx
n
1
x
0
1x
1
0Show
ListPlot
Table
x
2 n
,
n, 0, 15, 1

,Joined
True, DataRange
1, 30
, PlotStyle
Orange
,ListPlot
Table
x
2 n
1
,
n, 0, 15, 1

, Joined
True,DataRange
0, 30
, PlotStyle
Green
,ListPlot
Table
x
n
,
n, 0, 30, 1

, Joined
True

Out[144]=
1
Out[145]=
0
Out[146]=
5 10 15 20 25 30234567
A few questions arise just from this graph: does it tend to infinity as predicted, or near an asymp-tote? Will changing the initial value change the function's behavior? Why does it bounce up anddown like that? Since I can't embed dynamic
Mathematica
files into this website, I'll discuss theanswer to the second one: making
x
0
negative only flips the graph about the x-axis, and varying iton (0,
) makes the "bounces" more dramatic, i.e. increases the distance between the maxes and themins; this is true as
x
0
goes to infinity, and the same is true as
x
0
goes to 0. However, I noticed thataround
x
0
.8 that distance gets very small, and that observation led me to ask the question: isthere a value or range of values for
x
0
where the function is monotonic increasing, i.e. not bounc-ing up and down?
2

Recursive Sequence.nb

To find out, I wrote out the general sequence (with initial term
x
0
for convenience) and madesome interesting findings. The sequence goes:
,
1
,2
,
32
,
2
4
3
,
3
52
4
, ...Now, we want to know what value of
makes this sequence monotonic increasing. Thus, we get anumber of statements:
1
,
1
2
,2
32
,
32
2
4
3
,andsoon.How do these help us? They give us an upper bound and a lower bound for
, which we will noticeby writing out two infinite products for these two values. I will use each of those inequalities to"solve" for
: notice that
will be on the "lesser" side when it is in the numerator (in the even #'dterms), and on the "greater" side when it is in the denominator (in the odd #'d terms). Thus, weobtain
1,
12
,
1
32
,
1
32
4
, and so on.After writing out a few more terms for myself, I worked the upper and lower bounds for
that thetwo sets of inequalities dictate:
1
3
5...
2
n
1
2
n
12
4
6...
2
n
and
1
3
5...
2
n
1
2
4
6...
2
n
2
n
2
.Do these two bounds approach the same limit as
n
, or do they approach different values andcreate range of values
can take to make this sequence monotonic increasing? (Remember that
n
must go to
, since the sequence is infinite and thus we have an infinite number of inequalities.)They can be nested in to products:

Recursive Sequence.nb
3