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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


{an}, where n represents an element in the domain of the
sequence. Thus, {an} = 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 a1, a2, a3, …. are the elements of
the range. The first term a1 is found by letting n = 1, the
second term a2 is found by letting n = 2, and so on, so that the
nth term of the sequence is an. The formula for the sequence is
generally written in brackets {an} to distinguish it from the nth
term, an. 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.
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Sequences

f(x)=3x {an}={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.

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Sequences

Write the first five terms of each of the following sequences (let
index start at 1):

A. {an } = {2n − 1}
B. {an } = {(−1) n+1}
C. {an } =  n 

 n + 1
1
D. {an } =  n 
2 
  1  n 
E. {an } = 1 +  −  
  2  

Write the 20th term of sequence C, given above.

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Sequences

In each of the previously defined sequences, the formula defined each


term explicitly: the formula for an 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


a1=5, and {an} = 2an-1 - 3 for n≥
≥ 2.

One of the most famous recursively defined sequence is the Fibonacci


sequence, which can be defined as

f1=1, f2=1, and {fn} = fn-1 + fn-2 for n ≥ 3.

Find the first 10 terms of the Fibonacci sequence.

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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 37 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(n-1)(n-2) …(2)(1)
where 0! = 1.

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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

n! = n (n-1)!

Summation Notation

Frequently, we may need to find the sum of the first n terms of a


sequence: a1 +a2 +a3 +…+an . 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
a1 + a 2 + a3 + ... + a n = ∑ a k
k =1
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Sequences

Write out each sum expressed in the following summation notation:


4
A. ∑ (2k + 1)
k =1

9
B. ∑ k
k =5
2

Write each sum using summation notation:

C . 2 + 4 + 6 + 8 + 10

D. x + x 2 + x 3 + x 4 + x 5 + x 6

E. 1 + x + x 2 + x 3 + x 4 + x 5 + x 6

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Sequences
Some important summation properties:
Let {an} and {bn} be two sequences; and let c be a real number:
n

∑ c = nc
n n
1.
k =1
2. ∑ ca
k =1
k = c ∑ ak
k =1

n n n
3. ∑ (a
k =1
k ± bk ) = ∑ a k ± ∑ bk
k =1 k =1

n j n
4. ∑a = ∑a
k =1
k
k =1
k + ∑a
k = j +1
k for 1 < j < n

n
n( n + 1) n
n(n + 1)(2n + 1)
5. ∑ k =
2
6. ∑k2 =
k =1 6
k =1

 n(n + 1) 
n 2

7. ∑ k = 
3
 To be proved later

k =1  2 

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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 {an } is only defined for integer values of n, the only
limit that makes sense is
lim an
n →∞

Let’s briefly sketch the graphs of each of the following:

o {an } = {2n − 1} o {an } =  n 


   1  n 
 n + 1  o {an } = 1 +  −  
  2  
o {an } = {(−1) n+1} 1
o {an } =  n 
2 
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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 {an} is intended to
describe how an behaves as n → ∞. We say that sequence {an} 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 {an} is said to converge to the limit L if for each ε > 0, there
exists an integer N > 0 such that |an – L| < ε for n ≥ N. In this case we write

lim an = L
n →∞
A sequence that does not converge to some finite limit is said to diverge.

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Sequences

Properties
Let c be a constant, lim an = L and lim bn = M then:
n →∞ n →∞

1. lim c = c
n →∞

2. lim can = c lim an = cL


n →∞ n →∞

3. lim(an + bn ) = lim an + lim bn = L + M


n →∞ n →∞ n →∞

4. lim(an − bn ) = lim an − lim bn = L − M


n →∞ n →∞ n →∞

( )(
5. lim(anbn ) = lim an lim bn = LM
n →∞ n →∞ n →∞
)
 an  lim an L
6. lim  = n →∞
= if M ≠ 0
n→∞ b
 n  lim
n →∞
bn M

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Sequences

Let’s evaluate the following limits:

100
lim
n →∞ n

n
lim
n →∞ 2n + 1

2n 2 + 5n − 7
lim
n→∞ n3

3n 4 + 23n − 15
lim
n →∞ 5n 4 + 2 n 2 + 1

n5 + 25
lim
n → ∞ 5n 4 − 2

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Sequences

Suppose sequence {an} agrees with real variable function f(x) at every positive
integer: that is f(x) = f(n) = an when x is a positive integer. One can see that
if f(x) → L as x →∞, then an→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

lim f ( x) = L
x →∞
If {an} is a sequence such that f(n) = an for every positive integer n, then

lim an = L
n →∞

NOTE: The converse is not true. A convergent sequence does not


imply a convergent real variable function.

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Sequences

Let’s determine the convergence or divergence of the following sequences with


the given nth terms. If the sequence converges, let’s find its limit.

n
an = n
e

an =
( )
ln n3
2n

an = n n

1
a n = n sin  
n

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Sequences

Useful in finding limits of sequences that cannot be obtained directly.

Theorem: “Squeeze Theorem for Sequences”

If lim a n = L = lim cn
n→∞ n→∞
And there exists an integer N such that for all n > N a n ≤ bn ≤ cn

Then lim bn = L
n→∞

Let’s consider the limits of the following sequences:

2n
an =
n!

n!
an =
nn
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Sequences

Useful in finding limits of sequences with both positive and negative terms.

Theorem: “Absolute Value Theorem”

If lim an = 0 , then lim a n = 0


n→∞ n→∞

Let’s consider the limits of the following sequences:

2n
a n = (−1) n

n!

(−1) n+1
an =
n2

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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 an is called

increasing if a1≤a2≤a3≤………≤an≤…

strictly increasing if a1<a2<a3<………<an<…

decreasing if a1≥a2≥a3≥………≥an≥…

strictly decreasing if a1>a2>a3>………>an>…

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?

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Sequences

Math tests for monotonicity include:

1. Difference between successive terms: an+1 – an = ?

if an+1 – an > 0 then ?


if an+1 – an < 0 then ?
if an+1 – an ≥ 0 then ?
if an+1 – an ≤ 0 then ?

2. Ratio of successive terms (when all terms are positive): an+1/an = ?

if an+1/an > 1 then ?


if an+1/an < 1 then ?
if an+1/an ≥ 1 then ?
if an+1/an ≤ 1 then ?

3. f’(x) for x≥1 (if an = 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 ?
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Sequences

Examine the following sequence using all three of the math tests for monotonicity:

n
an =
n +1

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 an≤U for all n, in which case
the sequence converges to limit L≤U
(2). Has no upper bound, in which case an!∞ as n!!∞

A monotonically decreasing sequence either


(1). Has a lower bound M such that an≥M for all n, in which case
the sequence converges to limit L≥M
(2). Has no lower bound, in which case an!-∞ as n!!∞

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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

∑a
n =1
n = a1 + a2 + a3 + ... + an + ...
The numbers a1, a2, a3,…… are the terms of the series.

Let’s consider the repeating decimal 0.33333………


3 3 3 3 3
Written as 0.3 + .03 + .003 + .0003 + .00003 + …… = + 2 + 3 + 4 + 5 + ........
10 10 10 10 10
this decimal can be seen as an infinite series.

3 3 3 3 3 3
+ + + + + ... + k + ... = ∑ ak
10 102 103 104 105 10 k =1

3
where ak =
10k
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Series

3
Thus we can write 0.33333...... = ∑ k
k =1 10
3
Let’s now form a sequence whose terms are s1 =
10
3 3
s2 = + 2
10 10
3 3 3
s3 = + 2 + 3
10 10 10
.
.
3 3 3 3
sn = + 2 + 3 + ... + n
10 10 10 10
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 lim sn represent if it exists?


n →∞

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Series

To find this limit, let’s use a little algebra to write sn in a closed form with a
finite number of terms.

3 3 3 3
sn = + 2 + 3 + ... + n
10 10 10 10
1 13 3 3 3  3 3 3 3
and sn =  + 2 + 3 + ... + n  = 2 + 3 + 4 + ... n +1
10 10  10 10 10 10  10 10 10 10

Thus
1 3 3 3 3   3 3 3 3 
sn − sn =  + 2 + 3 + ... + n  −  2 + 3 + 4 + ... + n +1 
10  10 10 10 10   10 10 10 10 
9 3 3 3 1 
sn = − n +1 = 1 − n 
10 10 10 10  10 
1 1 
sn = 1 − n 
3  10 
1 1  1
lim sn = lim 1 − n  =
n →∞ n→∞ 3
 10  3

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Series

The number sn is called the nth partial sum of the series, and the sequence {sn}
is the sequence of partial sums.

Definition: Convergent & Divergent Series


For the infinite series ∑a


k =1
k with nth partial sum sn = a1 + a2 + a3 + ... + an

If the sequence of partial sums {sn} 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,

S = ∑ ak
k =1

If the sequence {sn} diverges, then the series diverges. A divergent series has no
sum.

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?

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Series

Let’s examine the following series:

∑ (−1)
k =1
k +1

∑k
k =1


1

k =1 k ( k + 1)
Note: “telescoping series”

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Series

Let’s examine the following series:


k −1 k
∞ ∞
1 1 1 1 1 1
1+ + + + ... + k + ... = ∑   = ∑ 
2 4 8 2 k =1  2  k =0  2 

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. an +1
=r
an
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

∑ ar
k =0
k
= a + ar + ar 2
+ .... + ar k
+ ... (a ≠ 0)

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Series

Theorem: Geometric Series Convergence/Divergence

A geometric series

∑ ar
k =0
k
= a + ar + ar 2
+ .... + ar k
+ ... ( a ≠ 0)
diverges if |r| ≥ 1. If |r| < 1, the series converges to the sum

a

k =0
ar =
k

1− r

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Series

∑ ar
k =0
k
= a + ar + ar 2
+ .... + ar k
+ ... ( a ≠ 0)

If |r| = 1, it is obvious the series (a + a + a +….) diverges.


If |r| ≠ 1, then
sn = a + ar + ar 2 + ... + ar n
rsn = ar + ar 2 + ar 3 + ... + ar n +1
( ) (
sn − rsn = a + ar + ar 2 + ... + ar n − ar + ar 2 + ar 3 + ... + ar n +1 )
sn − rsn = a − ar n +1
(
sn (1 − r ) = a 1 − r n +1 )
sn =
(
a 1 − r n +1 )
1− r
If |r|<1, lim sn = lim
( )
a 1 − r n +1
=
a Why?
n →∞ n →∞ 1− r 1− r
If |r|>1, lim sn = lim
(
a 1− r )
n +1
D.N .E. Why?
n→∞ n →∞ 1− r
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Series

Thus, the sum of our infinite series


∞ k
1 1 1 1 1 1
1 + + + + ... + k + ... = ∑ (1)  = =2
2 4 8 2 k =0  2  1− 2
1

Examine the following series:



8

k =0 3
k

1 − 12 + 14 − 18 + 161 − .....

∞ k
8
∑  
k =0  3 

0.1212121212....

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Series

Properties of Infinite Series


∞ ∞
If ∑a
k =1
k = A, ∑b
k =1
k = B, & c is a real number, then


1. ∑ ca
k =1
k = cA


2. ∑ (a
k =1
k + bk ) = A + B

3. ∑ (a
k =1
k − bk ) = A − B

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 Σak and Σcak both
converge or both diverge.

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Series Convergence Tests

Theorem: Limit of nth Term of a Convergent Series


If ∑a
n =1
n converges, then lim an = 0
n →∞

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: nth Term Test for Divergence



If lim an ≠ 0
n →∞
, then ∑a
n =1
n diverges.

Consider the following:

∞ ∞

∑ n)
(

∑( )
n =0
3 n
2 ∑( )
n =1
n
n +1
1

n =1

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Series Convergence Tests

Theorem: The Integral Test

Let Σan be an infinite series with positive terms. If f is a positive,


continuous, and decreasing function for x≥N; and an=f(n) for all n≥N then
∞ ∞

∑a
n= N
n and ∫ f ( x)dx
N
either both converge or both diverge.

This doesn’t say Σan =∫f(x)dx, if they both converge we still don’t know
the sum of the series.

Now, let’s consider the following series:



1

n =1 n
2


1

n =1 n

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Series Convergence Tests

The last two examples are examples of an important class of series known as
p-series.

Definition: p-series

A p-series is an infinite series of the form



1

n =1 n p
where p>0

Note: when p = 1, this series is also called the “harmonic” series

Theorem: Convergence of p-series


1 1 1 1 1

n =1 n
p
= 1 + p + p + p + p + ....
2 3 4 5
▪ Converges if p>1

▪ Diverges if 0<p≤1

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Series Convergence Tests

Use the previous theorem on p-series to determine whether or not each of the
following converge:

1+ 1
2
+ 1
3
+ .... + 1
n
+ ...

1 + 14 + 19 + 161 + ...

5 + 54 + 59 + 165 + ...

∑n
−2
3

n =1


1
∑n =1
3
n5

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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 < an ≤ bn for all n

▪ If Σbn converges, then Σan also converges

▪ If Σan diverges, then Σbn 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 Σbn converges, then it is bounded by a finite value L. Obviously, the sequence


of partial sums of Σan is a monotonically increasing sequence (sum of positive terms
can’t decrease). Since each term of an ≤ term of bn, we know sn is bounded above
by L. Therefore, Σan also converges by the “bounded, monotonic, convergent
theorem” to a value K≤L.

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Series Convergence Tests

To use the “Direct Comparison Test”: (1) Make a “conjecture” whether Σan
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 an 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 an, 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
∑n =1 n − .5

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Series Convergence Tests

Let’s examine the following series using the direct comparison test.


1
∑ 2n
n =1
2
+n


4n

n =1 3 n
−1


1

n =0 5 + 2
n

∑e
n =0
−n3

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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 Σan and Σbn be series with positive terms (an>0 & bn>0 for all n) such
that
 an 
lim  = L
n →∞ b
 n
If L is finite and L>0, then the series either both converge or both diverge.

For example, let’s examine the following series using the limit comparison test.


1
∑n =1 n − .5

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Series Convergence Tests

Let’s examine the following series using the limit comparison test.


1
∑ 2n
n =1
2
+n


4n 2 − 2n + 6

n =1 8n 7
+ n −8


5n − 3

n =1 n 2
− 2n + 5

∑ tan( )
n =1
1
n

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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”.

1 1 1 1
For example, 1 − + − + ...... = ∑ (−1) n +1
2 3 4 n =1 n

1 1 1 n 1
and − 1 + − +
2 3 4
− ...... = ∑
n =1
( − 1)
n
are both “alternating series”

Theorem: Alternating Series Test


Let an > 0. An alternating series of the form
∞ ∞

∑ (−1)
n =1
n +1
an or ∑ ( −1)
n =1
n
an
Converges if both of the following conditions are satisfied

1. lim an = 0
n →∞

2. an +1 ≤ an ∀n

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Series Convergence Tests

Let’s use the “Alternating Series Test” to examine the following:


1
∑ (−1)
n =1
n +1


n

n =1 ( −e)
n


n+3

n =1
(−1) n

n(n + 1)

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?
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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 ∑a n
converges, then the series ∑a
n =1
n also converges.
n =1

Note: the converse is not true!

Definition: Absolutely Convergent & Conditionally Convergent

If Σ|an| converges, then Σan is absolutely convergent.

If Σan converges, but Σ|an| diverges, then Σan is conditionally convergent.

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Series Convergence Tests

Let’s use this information to examine the following series:


cos n

n =1 n
2


1
∑ (
n =1
−1) n

n ( n +1)

(−1) 2


n =1 4n

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Series Convergence Tests

Another useful test that utilizes this concept of absolute convergence is the
“Ratio Test.”

Theorem: Ratio Test

Let Σan be a series with nonzero terms, and suppose that


an +1
lim =L
n →∞ an
1. If L < 1, then Σan converges absolutely.

2. If L > 1 or L→
→∞, then Σan diverges.

3. If L = 1, then this test is inconclusive, and no inference can be made.

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Series Convergence Tests

Use the “ratio test” to examine the following series:


2n

n =1
(−1)
n

n!


(2n − 1)!
∑ (−1) n
n =1 3n


(n + 2)
∑ (−1) n
n =1 n(n + 1)

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Series Convergence Tests

If the series involves nth powers, the “root test” is frequently a good choice to
help determine convergence or divergence.

Theorem: Root Test

Let Σan be a series such that


1
lim n an = lim an n
=L
n →∞ n →∞
1. If L < 1, then Σan converges absolutely.

2. If L > 1, or L→
→∞, then Σan diverges.

3. If L = 1, then this test is inconclusive, and no inference may be


made about the convergence or divergence of the series.

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Series Convergence Tests

Use the “root test” to examine the following series:

 4n − 5 
∞ n

∑  
n = 2  2n + 1 


1

n =1 (ln( n + 1) )n


e 3n

n =1 n n

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Series Convergence Tests

Convergence/Divergence Testing Rules of Thumb

1. Nth-Term Divergence Test

2. Special type of series: Geometric, p-Series, 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

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Series Convergence Tests

Determine the convergence or divergence of each series. Identify the test used.


(−1) n 3 cos n
∑ n

n =1 3
n
n =1


(−1) n 3n −1 ∞
n3n

n =1 2n

n =1 n!

∞ ∞ n
2n  1 

n =1 n + 2
∑  
n=2  ln n 


5
∑n

n =1 n ∑ 2ne
n =1
−n2


5n + 2


 2 2 
n =1 n 2
n ∑  n + 3 − n + 4 
n =1

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