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ALGORITHMS DESIGN TECHNIQUES AND ANALYSIS|Views: 9,685|Likes: 55

Published by Meena Bhagavathula

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https://www.scribd.com/doc/50591134/ALGORITHMS-DESIGN-TECHNIQUES-AND-ANALYSIS

05/05/2013

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This is an extremely powerful method and is widely used to make proofs

short and simple to follow. To prove that the statement “P → Q” is true

using this method, we start by assuming that P is true but Q is false. If

this assumption leads to a contradiction, it means that our assumption that

“Q is false” must be wrong, and hence Q must follow from P. This method

is based on the following logical reasoning. If we know that P → Q is true

and Q is false, then P must be false. So, if we assume at the beginning

that P is true, Q is false, and reach the conclusion that P is false, then we

have that P is both true and false. But P cannot be both true and false,

and hence this is a contradiction. Thus, we conclude that our assumption

that Q is false is wrong, and it must be the case that Q is true after all.

It should be noted that this is not the only contradiction that may result;

for example, after assuming that P is true and Q is false, we may reach

the conclusion that, say, 1 = −1. The following example illustrates this

method of proof. In this example, we make use of the following theorem.

If a,b and c are integers such that a divides both b and c, then a divides

their diﬀerence, that is, a divides b−c.

Example 2.7 We prove the assertion: There are inﬁnitely many primes. We

Proof Methods

67

proceed to prove this assertion by contradiction as follows. Suppose to the con-

trary that there are only k primes p*1*,p*2*,...,pk, where p*1* = 2,p*2* = 3,p*3* = 5, etc.

and that all other integers greater than 1 are composite. Let n = p*1*p*2*...pk + 1

and let p be a prime divisor of n (recall that n is not a prime by assumption since

it is larger than pk). Since n is not a prime, one of p*1*,p*2*,...,pk must divide n.

That is, p is one of the numbers p*1*,p*2*,...,pk, and hence p divides p*1*p*2*...pk.

Consequently, p divides n−p*1*p*2*...pk. But n−p*1*p*2*...pk = 1, and p does not

divide 1 since it is greater than 1, by deﬁnition of a prime number. This is a

contradiction. It follows that the number of primes is inﬁnite.

The proof of Theorem 2.3 provides an excellent example of the method

of proof by contradiction.

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