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10/30/2012

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1. Let

1996
n=1

1 +nx3n

= 1 +a1xk1

+a2xk2

+...+amxkm
,

where a1,a2,...,am are nonzero and k1 < k2 < ... < km. Find
a1996.

Solution: Note that ki is the number obtained by writing i in
base 2 and reading the result as a number in base 3, and ai is the
sum of the exponents of the powers of 3 used. In particular, 1996 =
210

+ 29

+ 28

+ 27

+ 26

+ 23

+ 22

, so

a1996 = 10 + 9 + 8 + 7 + 6 + 3 + 2 = 45.

2. In a parallelogram ABCD with ∠A < 90◦, the circle with diameter
AC meets the lines CB and CD again at E and F, respectively, and
the tangent to this circle at A meets BD at P. Show that P,F,E
are collinear.

Solution: Without loss of generality, suppose B,D,P occur in
that order along BD. Let G and H be the second intersections of
AD and AB with the circle. By Menelaos’s theorem, it suﬃces to
show that

CE ·BP ·DF

EB·PD·FC = 1.

First note that

BP

AB

DP = sin∠BAP
sin∠APB

sin∠APD
sin∠DAP = sin∠BAP
sin∠DAP .

Since AP is tangent to the circle, ∠BAP =∠HAP = π∠HCA =
π∠FAC; similarly, ∠DAP =∠GCA =∠EAC. We conclude

BP

AB

DP = sin∠FAC

sin∠EAC = FC

EC.

Finally we note that DF/BE = DA/AB because the right triangles
AFD and AEB have the same angles at B and D and are thus
similar. This proves the claim.

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3. Given real numbers 0 = x1 < x2 < ... < x2n < x2n+1 = 1 with
xi+1xi h for 1 i 2n, show that

1h

2 <

n
i=1

x2i(x2i+1x2i−1) < 1 +h

2 .

Solution: The diﬀerence between the middle quantity and 1/2 is
the diﬀerence between the sum of the areas of the rectangles bounded
by the lines x = x2i−1, x = x2i+1, y = 0, y = x2i and the triangle
bounded by the lines y = 0,x = 1,x = y. The area contained in the
rectangles but not the triangle is a union of triangles of total base
less than 1 and height at most h, as is the area contained in the
triangle but not the rectangles. Hence the sum diﬀers from 1/2 by
at most h/2, as desired.

the same area. Let E be the the intersection of AC and BD,
and let the parallels through E to the lines AD,DC,CB,BA meet
AB,BC,CD,DA at K,L,M,N, respectively. Compute the ratio of
the areas of the quadrilaterals KLMN and ABCD.

Solution: The triangles EKL and DAC are homothetic, so the
ratio of their areas equals (EK/AD)(EL/CD) = (BE/BD)2

= 1/4,
since B and D are equidistant from the line AC. Similarly the ratio
of the areas of EMN and BCA is 1/4, so the union of the triangles
EKL and EMN has area 1/4 that of ABCD.

As for triangle EKN, its base KN is parallel to BD and half as
long, so its area is one-fourth that of ABD. Similarly EML has
area one-fourth that of BCD, and so the union of the two triangles
EKN and EML has area one-fourth that of ABCD, and so the
quadrilateral KLMN has area one-half that of ABCD.

5. Find the maximum number of pairwise disjoint sets of the form
Sa,b = {n2

+an+b : n ∈Z} with a,b ∈Z.

Solution: Only two such sets are possible, for example, with
(a,b) = (0,0) and (0,2) (since 2 is not a diﬀerence of squares). There
is no loss of generality in assuming a ∈ {0,1} by a suitable shift of

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n, and the sets generated by (0,a) and (1,b) have the common value
(ab)2

+ a = (ab)2

+ (ab) + b. Thus we have a = 0 or a = 1

universally.

First suppose a = 0. If bc 2(mod 4), then (0,b) and (0,c) give
a common value because bc is a diﬀerence of squares; clearly this
precludes having three disjoint sets. Now suppose a = 1. If bc is
even, we can ﬁnd x,y such that bc = (x + y + 1)(xy), and so
x2

+ x + b = y2

+ y + c; again, this precludes having three disjoint

sets.

6. For which ordered pairs of positive real numbers (a,b) is the limit of
every sequence {xn} satisfying the condition

lim

n→∞

(axn+1bxn) = 0

zero?

Solution: This holds if and only if b < a. If b > a, the sequence
xn = (b/a)n

satisﬁes the condition but does not go to zero; if b = a,
the sequence xn = 1 + 1/2 +···+ 1/n does likewise. Now suppose
b < a. If L and M are the limit inferior and limit superior of the
given sequence, the condition implies M (b/a)L; since L M,
we have M (b/a)M, and so L,M 0. Similarly, the condition
implies L (b/a)M, and since M L, we have L (b/a)L, so
L,M 0; therefore L = M = 0 and the sequence converges to 0.

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