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Sequences
Sequence
A sequence is a function that has a set of natural
numbers as its domain.
Instead of using f(x) to indicate a sequence, one usually writes
{a
n
}, where n represents an element in the domain of the
sequence. Thus, {a
n
} = f(n); where we use n instead of x to
remind us the functional argument n represents a natural
number.
The terms of the sequence a
1
, a
2
, a
3
, …. are the elements of
the range. The first term a
1
is found by letting n = 1, the
second term a
2
is found by letting n = 2, and so on, so that the
n
th
term of the sequence is a
n
. The formula for the sequence is
generally written in brackets {a
n
} to distinguish it from the n
th
term, a
n
. Note: It is not necessary to start the index (n) at 1;
sometimes it is more convenient to start at 0 or some other
integer.
OWC Ethridge
Sequences
f(x)=3x
{a
n
}={3n}
Note that whereas the graph of f(x) is continuous, the graph of a
sequence will be discontinuous since the domain only consists of
natural numbers.
OWC Ethridge
Sequences
Write the first five terms of each of the following sequences (let
index start at 1):
{ } { } 1 2 . − = n a A
n
{ } { }
1
) 1 ( .
+
− =
n
n
a B
{ }
)
`
¹
¹
´
¦
+
=
1
.
n
n
a C
n
{ }
)
`
¹
¹
´
¦
=
n
n
a D
2
1
.
Write the 20th term of sequence C, given above.
{ }
¦
)
¦
`
¹
¦
¹
¦
´
¦

.

\

− + =
n
n
a E
2
1
1 .
OWC Ethridge
Sequences
In each of the previously defined sequences, the formula defined each
term explicitly: the formula for a
n
did not depend on a previous term.
Some sequences, however, are defined recursively. A recursive sequence
is one in which each term is defined as an expression involving one or more
prior terms. This form of definition also requires that the starting
term(s) be defined. For example:
Find the first 5 terms of the sequence defined by
a
1
=5, and {a
n
} = 2a
n1
 3 for n≥ ≥≥ ≥ 2.
One of the most famous recursively defined sequence is the Fibonacci
sequence, which can be defined as
f
1
=1, f
2
=1, and {f
n
} = f
n1
+ f
n2
for n ≥ ≥≥ ≥ 3.
Find the first 10 terms of the Fibonacci sequence.
OWC Ethridge
Sequences
If the domain of a sequence is a finite set of natural numbers (for
example, {1,2,3,4,….,n}) , we call it a finite sequence.
If the domain of a sequence is the entire set of natural numbers, we
call it an infinite sequence.
For example,
A. The sequence of dates in the month of November
[finite sequence]
B. The sequence of nonnegative integers evenly divisible by 2
[infinite sequence]
Factorial Notation
Writing 3
7
is an abbreviated notation for the product 3x3x3x3x3x3x3.
Suppose we want the product of 10x9x8x7x6x5x4x3x2x1. Rather than
write this somewhat long and tedious expression, an abbreviated form
is 10!. In general:
If n≥ ≥≥ ≥0 is an integer, then
n! = n(n1)(n2) …(2)(1)
where 0! = 1.
OWC Ethridge
Sequences
For example:
5! = (5)(4)(3)(2)(1)
4! = (4)(3)(2)(1)
Looking at this example, one can see that one could write 5! = 5 (4!)
And, in general, we can find the useful relationship
Summation Notation
n! = n (n1)!
Frequently, we may need to find the sum of the first n terms of a
sequence: a
1
+a
2
+a
3
+…+a
n
. Summation notation gives us a concise
way to express this sum. Summation notation utilizes the Greek
letter Σ, “sigma”, as shorthand for the sum. Thus, we could write
∑
=
= + + + +
n
k
k n
a a a a a
1
3 2 1
...
OWC Ethridge
Sequences
Write out each sum expressed in the following summation notation:
∑
=
+
4
1
) 1 2 ( .
k
k A
∑
=
9
5
2
.
k
k B
Write each sum using summation notation:
10 8 6 4 2 . + + + + C
6 5 4 3 2
. x x x x x x D + + + + +
6 5 4 3 2
1 . x x x x x x E + + + + + +
OWC Ethridge
Sequences
Some important summation properties:
Let {a
n
} and {b
n
} be two sequences; and let c be a real number:
nc c
n
k
=
∑
=1
. 1
∑ ∑
= =
=
n
k
k
n
k
k
a c ca
1 1
. 2
( )
∑ ∑ ∑
= = =
± = ±
n
k
k
n
k
k
n
k
k k
b a b a
1 1 1
. 3
n j a a a
n
j k
k
j
k
k
n
k
k
< < + =
∑ ∑ ∑
+ = = =
1 for . 4
1 1 1
2
) 1 (
. 5
1
+
=
∑
=
n n
k
n
k
∑
=
+ +
=
n
k
n n n
k
1
2
6
) 1 2 )( 1 (
. 6
2
1
3
2
) 1 (
. 7

.

\

+
=
∑
=
n n
k
n
k
To be proved later
OWC Ethridge
Sequences
In this course, our interest will primarily focus on infinite sequences: an
unending succession of numbers (called terms) in a definite order. As
previously mentioned, a mathematical sequence is a function whose domain is a
set of nonnegative integers. The functional values are called the terms of the
sequence.
Since sequences are functions, it is reasonable to discuss the limit of a
sequence.
But, because the function is only defined for integer values of n, the only
limit that makes sense is
{ }
n
a
n
n
a
∞ →
lim
Let’s briefly sketch the graphs of each of the following:
{ } { } 1 2 − = n a
n
o
{ } { }
1
) 1 (
+
− =
n
n
a o
{ }
)
`
¹
¹
´
¦
+
=
1 n
n
a
n
o
{ }
)
`
¹
¹
´
¦
=
n
n
a
2
1
o
{ }
¦
)
¦
`
¹
¦
¹
¦
´
¦

.

\

− + =
n
n
a
2
1
1 o
OWC Ethridge
Sequences
As the sketches of the graphs of these sequences show, the behavior of
sequences is varied as n → →→ → ∞. Thus, the limit of a sequence {a
n
} is intended to
describe how a
n
behaves as n → →→ → ∞. We say that sequence {a
n
} approaches a
limit L if the terms in the sequence become arbitrarily close to L as n gets
arbitrarily large.
Limit of a Sequence
A sequence {a
n
} is said to converge to the limit L if for each ε > 0, there
exists an integer N > 0 such that a
n
– L < ε for n ≥ N. In this case we write
A sequence that does not converge to some finite limit is said to diverge.
L a
n
n
=
∞ →
lim
OWC Ethridge
Sequences
Properties
Let c be a constant, and then: L a
n
n
=
∞ →
lim M b
n
n
=
∞ →
lim
c c
n
=
∞ →
lim . 1
cL a c ca
n
n
n
n
= =
∞ → ∞ →
lim lim . 2
( ) M L b a b a
n
n
n
n
n n
n
+ = + = +
∞ → ∞ → ∞ →
lim lim lim . 3
( ) M L b a b a
n
n
n
n
n n
n
− = − = −
∞ → ∞ → ∞ →
lim lim lim . 4
( ) ( )( ) LM b a b a
n
n
n
n
n n
n
= =
∞ → ∞ → ∞ →
lim lim lim . 5
0
lim
lim
lim . 6 ≠ = =


.

\

∞ →
∞ →
∞ →
M if
M
L
b
a
b
a
n
n
n
n
n
n
n
OWC Ethridge
Sequences
Let’s evaluate the following limits:
n
n
100
lim
∞ →
1 2
lim
+
∞ →
n
n
n
3
2
7 5 2
lim
n
n n
n
− +
∞ →
1 2 5
15 23 3
lim
2 4
4
+ +
− +
∞ →
n n
n n
n
2 5
25
lim
4
5
−
+
∞ →
n
n
n
OWC Ethridge
Sequences
Suppose sequence {a
n
} agrees with real variable function f(x) at every positive
integer: that is f(x) = f(n) = a
n
when x is a positive integer. One can see that
if f(x) → →→ → L as x → →→ →∞, then a
n
→ →→ →L as n → →→ →∞. This leads to the following useful
theorem.
Theorem
Let L be a real number. Let f be a function of a real variable such that
If {a
n
} is a sequence such that f(n) = a
n
for every positive integer n, then
L x f
x
=
∞ →
) ( lim
L a
n
n
=
∞ →
lim
NOTE: The converse is not true. A convergent sequence does not
imply a convergent real variable function.
OWC Ethridge
Sequences
Let’s determine the convergence or divergence of the following sequences with
the given n
th
terms. If the sequence converges, let’s find its limit.
n
n
e
n
a =
( )
n
n
a
n
2
ln
3
=

.

\

=
n
n a
n
1
sin
n
n
n a =
OWC Ethridge
Sequences
Useful in finding limits of sequences that cannot be obtained directly.
Theorem: “Squeeze Theorem for Sequences”
If
And there exists an integer N such that for all n > N
Then
n
n
n
n
c L a
∞ → ∞ →
= = lim lim
n n n
c b a ≤ ≤
L b
n
n
=
∞ →
lim
Let’s consider the limits of the following sequences:
!
2
n
a
n
n
=
n
n
n
n
a
!
=
OWC Ethridge
Sequences
Useful in finding limits of sequences with both positive and negative terms.
Theorem: “Absolute Value Theorem”
If , then
0 lim =
∞ →
n
n
a
0 lim =
∞ →
n
n
a
Let’s consider the limits of the following sequences:
!
2
) 1 (
n
a
n
n
n
− =
2
1
) 1 (
n
a
n
n
+
−
=
OWC Ethridge
Sequences
Sometimes we may just need to determine the convergence of a sequence and not
the value of the limit (if it exists). In such cases, monotonicity is frequently
helpful.
Definition: A sequence a
n
is called
increasing if a
1
≤a
2
≤a
3
≤………≤a
n
≤…
strictly increasing if a
1
<a
2
<a
3
<………<a
n
<…
decreasing if a
1
≥a
2
≥a
3
≥………≥a
n
≥…
strictly decreasing if a
1
>a
2
>a
3
>………>a
n
>…
A sequence that is either increasing or decreasing is called monotone; and a
sequence that is either strictly increasing or strictly decreasing is called
strictly monotone.
Can a sequence be both increasing and decreasing?
OWC Ethridge
Sequences
Math tests for monotonicity include:
1. Difference between successive terms: a
n+1
– a
n
= ?
if a
n+1
– a
n
> 0 then ?
if a
n+1
– a
n
< 0 then ?
if a
n+1
– a
n
≥ 0 then ?
if a
n+1
– a
n
≤ 0 then ?
2. Ratio of successive terms (when all terms are positive): a
n+1
/a
n
= ?
if a
n+1
/a
n
> 1 then ?
if a
n+1
/a
n
< 1 then ?
if a
n+1
/a
n
≥ 1 then ?
if a
n+1
/a
n
≤ 1 then ?
3. f’(x) for x≥1 (if a
n
= f(n), and f’(x) exists for x≥1)
if f’(x) > 0 then ?
if f’(x) < 0 then ?
if f’(x) ≥ 0 then ?
if f’(x) ≤ 0 then ?
OWC Ethridge
Sequences
Examine the following sequence using all three of the math tests for monotonicity:
1 +
=
n
n
a
n
A monotone sequence either converges or becomes infinite – divergence by
oscillation cannot occur. That is,
A monotonically increasing sequence either
(1). Has an upper bound U such that a
n
≤U for all n, in which case
the sequence converges to limit L≤U
(2). Has no upper bound, in which case a
n
! !! !∞ as n! !! !∞
A monotonically decreasing sequence either
(1). Has a lower bound M such that a
n
≥M for all n, in which case
the sequence converges to limit L≥M
(2). Has no lower bound, in which case a
n
! !! !∞ as n! !! !∞
OWC Ethridge
Series
While a sequence is a succession of terms, a series is a sum of terms. The
summation of the terms of an infinite sequence is an infinite series.
Infinite Series
An infinite series is an expression that can be written in the form
The numbers a
1
, a
2
, a
3
,…… are the terms of the series.
∑
∞
=
+ + + + + =
1
3 2 1
... ...
n
n n
a a a a a
Let’s consider the repeating decimal 0.33333………
Written as 0.3 + .03 + .003 + .0003 + .00003 + ……
this decimal can be seen as an infinite series.
........
10
3
10
3
10
3
10
3
10
3
5 4 3 2
+ + + + + =
∑
∞
=
= + + + + + + +
1
5 4 3 2
...
10
3
...
10
3
10
3
10
3
10
3
10
3
k
k
k
a
k
k
a
10
3
=
where
OWC Ethridge
Series
n
n
s
s
s
s
10
3
...
10
3
10
3
10
3
.
.
10
3
10
3
10
3
10
3
10
3
10
3
3 2
3 2
3
2
2
1
+ + + + =
+ + =
+ =
=
∑
∞
=
=
1
10
3
...... 33333 . 0
k
k
Thus we can write
Let’s now form a sequence whose terms are
The terms of this sequence can be viewed as a succession of approximations to
the repeating decimal 0.333333… and the value of the infinite series.
What would represent if it exists?
n
n
s
∞ →
lim
OWC Ethridge
Series
To find this limit, let’s use a little algebra to write s
n
in a closed form with a
finite number of terms.
n
n
s
10
3
...
10
3
10
3
10
3
3 2
+ + + + =
1 4 3 2 3 2
10
3
...
10
3
10
3
10
3
10
3
...
10
3
10
3
10
3
10
1
10
1
+
+ + + =

.

\

+ + + + =
n n
n
s
and
Thus

.

\

+ + + + −

.

\

+ + + + = −
+1 4 3 2 3 2
10
3
...
10
3
10
3
10
3
10
3
...
10
3
10
3
10
3
10
1
n n
n n
s s

.

\

− = − =
+ n n
n
s
10
1
1
10
3
10
3
10
3
10
9
1

.

\

− =
n
n
s
10
1
1
3
1
3
1
10
1
1
3
1
lim lim =

.

\

− =
∞ → ∞ →
n
n
n
n
s
OWC Ethridge
Series
The number s
n
is called the n
th
partial sum of the series, and the sequence {s
n
}
is the sequence of partial sums.
Definition: Convergent & Divergent Series
For the infinite series with n
th
partial sum
If the sequence of partial sums {s
n
} converges to a limit S, then the series is said
to converge to S, and S is called the sum of the series. That is,
If the sequence {s
n
} diverges, then the series diverges. A divergent series has no
sum.
∑
∞
=1 k
k
a
n n
a a a a s + + + + = ...
3 2 1
∑
∞
=
=
1 k
k
a S
Two basic questions of interest to us:
1. Does a series converge or does it diverge?
2. If a series converges, what is its sum?
OWC Ethridge
Series
Let’s examine the following series:
∑
∞
=
+
−
1
1
) 1 (
k
k
∑
∞
=1 k
k
∑
∞
=
+
1
) 1 (
1
k
k k
Note: “telescoping series”
OWC Ethridge
Series
Let’s examine the following series:
k
k k
k
k
∑ ∑
∞
=
∞
=
−

.

\

=

.

\

= + + + + + +
1 0
1
2
1
2
1
...
2
1
...
8
1
4
1
2
1
1
This is an example of a very important type of series called a “geometric series.”
Notice each term is ½ times the prior term. That is, the ratio of each term to
its predecessor or successor is constant.
Such a series is a geometric series, and the number r is the ratio of the series.
Every geometric series can be written in the convenient, standard form
r
a
a
n
n
=
+1
) 0 ( ... ....
2
0
≠ + + + + + =
∑
∞
=
a ar ar ar a ar
k
k
k
OWC Ethridge
Series
Theorem: Geometric Series Convergence/Divergence
A geometric series
diverges if r ≥ 1. If r < 1, the series converges to the sum
) 0 ( ... ....
2
0
≠ + + + + + =
∑
∞
=
a ar ar ar a ar
k
k
k
r
a
ar
k
k
−
=
∑
∞
=
1
0
OWC Ethridge
Series
If r ≠ 1, then
n
n
ar ar ar a s + + + + = ...
2
1 3 2
...
+
+ + + + =
n
n
ar ar ar ar rs
If r = 1, it is obvious the series (a + a + a +….) diverges.
) 0 ( ... ....
2
0
≠ + + + + + =
∑
∞
=
a ar ar ar a ar
k
k
k
( ) ( )
1 3 2 2
... ...
+
+ + + + − + + + + = −
n n
n n
ar ar ar ar ar ar ar a rs s
1 +
− = −
n
n n
ar a rs s
( ) ( )
1
1 1
+
− = −
n
n
r a r s
( )
r
r a
s
n
n
−
−
=
+
1
1
1
If r<1,
( )
r
a
r
r a
s
n
n
n
n
−
=
−
−
=
+
∞ → ∞ →
1 1
1
lim lim
1
Why?
If r>1,
( )
. . .
1
1
lim lim
1
E N D
r
r a
s
n
n
n
n
−
−
=
+
∞ → ∞ →
Why?
OWC Ethridge
Series
2
1
1
2
1
) 1 ( ...
2
1
...
8
1
4
1
2
1
1
2
1
0
=
−
=

.

\

= + + + + + +
∑
∞
=
k
k
k
Thus, the sum of our infinite series
Examine the following series:
∑
∞
=0
3
8
k
k
..... 1
16
1
8
1
4
1
2
1
− + − + −
∑
∞
=

.

\

0
3
8
k
k
.... 1212121212 . 0
OWC Ethridge
Series
Properties of Infinite Series
If is a real number, then
c B b A a
k
k
k
k
& , ,
1 1
= =
∑ ∑
∞
=
∞
=
∑
∞
=
=
1
. 1
k
k
cA ca
( )
∑
∞
=
+ = +
1
. 2
k
k k
B A b a
( )
∑
∞
=
− = −
1
. 3
k
k k
B A b a
Note 1: Convergence or divergence is not affected by deleting a finite
number of terms from the beginning of a series. The sum of a
convergent series is, however, changed by removing terms.
Note 2: If c is a nonzero constant, then the series Σa
k
and Σca
k
both
converge or both diverge.
OWC Ethridge
Series Convergence Tests
Theorem: Limit of n
th
Term of a Convergent Series
If converges, then
∑
∞
=1 n
n
a
0 lim =
∞ →
n
n
a
Note: the converse is not true!
The contrapositive of this theorem will be of more use to us, in that it provides a
nice, fairly quick test for divergence of a series.
Theorem: n
th
Term Test for Divergence
If , then diverges.
0 lim ≠
∞ →
n
n
a
∑
∞
=1 n
n
a
Consider the following:
( )
∑
∞
=0
2
3
n
n
( )
∑
∞
=
+
1
1
n
n
n
( )
∑
∞
=1
1
n
n
OWC Ethridge
Series Convergence Tests
Theorem: The Integral Test
Let Σa
n
be an infinite series with positive terms. If f is a positive,
continuous, and decreasing function for x≥N; and a
n
=f(n) for all n≥N then
and
either both converge or both diverge.
∑
∞
=N n
n
a
∫
∞
N
dx x f ) (
Now, let’s consider the following series:
∑
∞
=1
2
1
n
n
∑
∞
=1
1
n
n
This doesn’t say Σa
n
=∫f(x)dx, if they both converge we still don’t know
the sum of the series.
OWC Ethridge
Series Convergence Tests
The last two examples are examples of an important class of series known as
pseries.
Definition: pseries
A pseries is an infinite series of the form
0
1
1
>
∑
∞
=
p where
n
n
p
Note: when p = 1, this series is also called the “harmonic” series
Theorem: Convergence of pseries
▪ Converges if p>1
▪ Diverges if 0<p≤1
∑
∞
=
+ + + + + =
1
....
5
1
4
1
3
1
2
1
1
1
n
p p p p p
n
OWC Ethridge
Series Convergence Tests
Use the previous theorem on pseries to determine whether or not each of the
following converge:
... .... 1
1
3
1
2
1
+ + + + +
n
... 1
16
1
9
1
4
1
+ + + +
... 5
16
5
9
5
4
5
+ + + +
∑
∞
=
−
1
3
2
n
n
∑
∞
=1
3 5
1
n n
OWC Ethridge
Series Convergence Tests
When we have a complicated series with positive terms, we can often compare it
with a simpler series whose convergence/divergence is known.
Theorem: Direct Comparison Test
Let 0 < a
n
≤ b
n
for all n
▪ If Σb
n
converges, then Σa
n
also converges
▪ If Σa
n
diverges, then Σb
n
also diverges
That is, if the “bigger” series converges, then the “smaller” series also converges.
And, if the “smaller” series diverges, then the “bigger” series also diverges.
If Σb
n
converges, then it is bounded by a finite value L. Obviously, the sequence
of partial sums of Σa
n
is a monotonically increasing sequence (sum of positive terms
can’t decrease). Since each term of a
n
≤ term of b
n
, we know s
n
is bounded above
by L. Therefore, Σa
n
also converges by the “bounded, monotonic, convergent
theorem” to a value K≤L.
OWC Ethridge
Series Convergence Tests
To use the “Direct Comparison Test”: (1) Make a “conjecture” whether Σa
n
converges or diverges (2) Find a comparison series that would prove your
conjecture correct. That is, if your conjecture is convergence, then find a
comparison series with larger terms that is known to converge. If your
conjecture is divergence, then find a comparison series with smaller terms that
is known to diverge.
To help with your initial “conjecture”, two useful “rules of thumb” are
1. Constant terms in the denominator of a
n
can usually be deleted
without affecting convergence or divergence.
2. If a polynomial in n appears as a factor in the numerator or
denominator of a
n
, all but the leading term of the polynomial can
usually be discarded without affecting convergence or divergence.
For example, let’s examine the following series using the direct comparison test.
∑
∞
=
−
1
5 .
1
n
n
OWC Ethridge
Series Convergence Tests
Let’s examine the following series using the direct comparison test.
∑
∞
=
+
1
2
2
1
n
n n
∑
∞
=
−
1
1 3
4
n
n
n
∑
∞
=
+
0
2 5
1
n
n
∑
∞
=
−
0
3
n
n
e
OWC Ethridge
Series Convergence Tests
Another test of convergence for series with positive terms that is frequently
easier to apply than the direct comparison test is the “limit comparison test.”
Theorem: Limit Comparison Test
Let Σa
n
and Σb
n
be series with positive terms (a
n
>0 & b
n
>0 for all n) such
that
If L is finite and L>0, then the series either both converge or both diverge.
L
b
a
n
n
n
=


.

\

∞ →
lim
For example, let’s examine the following series using the limit comparison test.
∑
∞
=
−
1
5 .
1
n
n
OWC Ethridge
Series Convergence Tests
Let’s examine the following series using the limit comparison test.
∑
∞
=
+
1
2
2
1
n
n n
∑
∞
=
− +
+ −
1
7
2
8 8
6 2 4
n
n n
n n
∑
∞
=
+ −
−
1
2
5 2
3 5
n
n n
n
( )
∑
∞
=1
1
tan
n
n
OWC Ethridge
Series Convergence Tests
Thus far, we’ve discussed series with positive terms. Let’s now look at series
that have both positive and negative terms. Of these, series whose terms
alternate between positive and negative terms, are frequently of special
importance to us. We call such series, “alternating series”.
For example,
∑
∞
=
+
− = + − + −
1
1
1
) 1 ( ......
4
1
3
1
2
1
1
n
n
n
∑
∞
=
− = − + − + −
1
1
) 1 ( ......
4
1
3
1
2
1
1
n
n
n
are both “alternating series”
and
Theorem: Alternating Series Test
Let a
n
> 0. An alternating series of the form
or
Converges if both of the following conditions are satisfied
1.
2.
∑
∞
=
+
−
1
1
) 1 (
n
n
n
a
∑
∞
=
−
1
) 1 (
n
n
n
a
0 lim =
∞ →
n
n
a
n a a
n n
∀ ≤
+1
OWC Ethridge
Series Convergence Tests
Let’s use the “Alternating Series Test” to examine the following:
∑
∞
=
+
−
1
1
1
) 1 (
n
n
n
∑
∞
=
−
1
) (
n
n
e
n
∑
∞
=
+
+
−
1
) 1 (
3
) 1 (
n
n
n n
n
Note: If a series fails the first part of the AST, then what do we conclude?
If a series fails the second part of the AST, then what do we conclude?
OWC Ethridge
Series Convergence Tests
Occasionally, we may have a series with terms of mixed (positive & negative)
signs, but not alternating.
Theorem: Absolute Convergence
If the series converges, then the series also converges.
∑
∞
=1 n
n
a
∑
∞
=1 n
n
a
Definition: Absolutely Convergent & Conditionally Convergent
If Σa
n
 converges, then Σa
n
is absolutely convergent.
If Σa
n
converges, but Σa
n
 diverges, then Σa
n
is conditionally convergent.
Note: the converse is not true!
OWC Ethridge
Series Convergence Tests
Let’s use this information to examine the following series:
∑
∞
=1
2
cos
n
n
n
∑
∞
=
−
1
1
) 1 (
n
n
n
∑
∞
=
+
−
1
2
) 1 (
4
) 1 (
n
n
n n
OWC Ethridge
Series Convergence Tests
Another useful test that utilizes this concept of absolute convergence is the
“Ratio Test.”
Theorem: Ratio Test
Let Σa
n
be a series with nonzero terms, and suppose that
1. If L < 1, then Σa
n
converges absolutely.
2. If L > 1 or L→ →→ →∞, then Σa
n
diverges.
3. If L = 1, then this test is inconclusive, and no inference can be made.
L
a
a
n
n
n
=
+
∞ →
1
lim
OWC Ethridge
Series Convergence Tests
Use the “ratio test” to examine the following series:
∑
∞
=
−
1
!
2
) 1 (
n
n
n
n
∑
∞
=
−
−
1
3
)! 1 2 (
) 1 (
n
n
n
n
∑
∞
=
+
+
−
1
) 1 (
) 2 (
) 1 (
n
n
n n
n
OWC Ethridge
Series Convergence Tests
If the series involves n
th
powers, the “root test” is frequently a good choice to
help determine convergence or divergence.
Theorem: Root Test
Let Σa
n
be a series such that
1. If L < 1, then Σa
n
converges absolutely.
2. If L > 1, or L→ →→ →∞, then Σa
n
diverges.
3. If L = 1, then this test is inconclusive, and no inference may be
made about the convergence or divergence of the series.
L a a
n
n
n
n
n
n
= =
∞ → ∞ →
1
lim lim
OWC Ethridge
Series Convergence Tests
Use the “root test” to examine the following series:
∑
∞
=

.

\

+
−
2
1 2
5 4
n
n
n
n
( )
∑
∞
=
+
1
) 1 ln(
1
n
n
n
∑
∞
=1
3
n
n
n
n
e
OWC Ethridge
Series Convergence Tests
Convergence/Divergence Testing Rules of Thumb
1. N
th
Term Divergence Test
2. Special type of series: Geometric, pSeries, Telescoping, Alternating
3. Integral Test, Ratio Test, or Root Test applicable
4. Easily compared to a special type series?  Limit Comparison Test,
Direct Comparison Test
OWC Ethridge
Series Convergence Tests
Determine the convergence or divergence of each series. Identify the test used.
∑
∞
=
−
1
3 ) 1 (
n
n
n
∑
∞
=1
5
n
n n
∑
∞
=
+
1
2
2
n
n
n
∑
∞
=
−
−
1
1
2
3 ) 1 (
n
n
n n
∑
∞
=
+
1
2
2 5
n
n
n
n
∑
∞
=1
3
cos
n
n
n
∑
∞
=1
!
3
n
n
n
n
∑
∞
=

.

\

2
ln
1
n
n
n
∑
∞
=
−
1
2
2
n
n
ne
∑
∞
=

.

\

+
−
+
1
4
2
3
2
n
n n
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