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Two very important (distinct) mathematical objects are sequences and se-

ries. A sequence is P an infinite list of numbers, whereas a series is an infinite

∞

sum. With a series n=1 an , though, we can associate

Pn two sequences:

1) its sequence of partial sums (Sn ), where Sn = k=1 ak

2) its sequence of terms (an ).

Our primary concern with both sequences and series is convergence. A se-

quence (an ) converges

Pnif limn→∞ an = L for some real number L. A series

converges if limn→∞ k=1 ak = L for some real number L; this is the same as

saying the sequence of partial sums (Sn ) converges. If a sequence or series does

not converge, we say it diverges.

series converges. The ultimate goal of all these tests is applying them to Taylor

series. We know that if the Taylor series of f at a converges for a given value

of x, then it converges to f (x). This is why we only test for convergence rather

than try to evaluate these series: once we have convergence, we know right away

what it converges to.

Sequence Series

What it is list sum

P∞

Written (an ) n=1 an

a1 , a2 , a3 , . . . a1 + a2 + a3 + · · ·

Pn

Converges if limn→∞ an = L limn→∞ k=1 ak = L

limn→∞ Sn = L

Squeeze Law Integral Test

Limits of Functions and Sequences Comparison Test

Bounded and Monotone Limit Comparison Test

L’Hôpital’s Rule Alternating Series Test

Ratio Test

Root Test

p-Series

Geometric Series

1

1 Sequences

what a sequence converges to, then trivially it converges. Recall the Substitution

Law says if

1) limn→∞ an = L

2) f is continuous at L,

then limn→∞ f (an ) = f (L).

Squeeze Law

limn→∞ cn = L, then limn→∞ bn = L also. Often we apply this with sin and

cos, bounding them between −1 and 1.

This is the idea that if limx→∞ f (x) = L, then limn→∞ f (n) = L also. For

example, limx→∞ 2 + 1/x = 2, so limn→∞ 2 + 1/n = 2.

This rule essentially exists to justify using L’Hôpital’s Rule on sequences.

By a theorem, any sequence (an ) which is bounded (for some positive number

M , and for all n, −M ≤ an ≤ M ) and monotone (for all large enough n, either

the an ’s are increasing or decreasing) converges.

This theorem can only tell us that a sequence converges, not to what it

converges.

L’Hôpital’s Rule

L’Hôpital’s Rule says that if limn→∞ f (n) and limn→∞ g(n) are both 0 or

both ∞, then

f (n) f ′ (n)

lim = lim ′ .

n→∞ g(n) n→∞ g (n)

indeterminate forms 0 · ∞, 0∞ , 1∞ , and ∞0 .

2

Test Sequence Check Limit

Limit Laws (an ) lim an = L L

f continuous at L f (L)

limn→∞ an = limn→∞ cn = L L

an monotone No info

L’Hôpital’s Rule (f (n)/g(n)) lim f (n) = lim g(n) = 0 lim f ′ (n)/g ′ (n)

or lim f (n) = lim g(n) = ∞

2 Series

P∞

If n=1 an converges, to L say, then

n→∞ n→∞ n→∞ n→∞

The nth Term Test is the P contrapositive of this statement: if limn→∞ an does

∞

not exist or is not 0, then n=1 an diverges.

This test is easy to apply, and should probably be the first test applied to

determine if a certain series converges or diverges.

Integral Test

P∞

If n=1 an is a series and f (x) is a function such that

(1) f (x) is positive, decreasing, and continuous

(2) f (n)

P∞= an for all R∞n,

then n=1 an and 1 f (x) dx both converge or both diverge.

Comparison Test

P∞ P∞

The Comparison Test says that if n=1 an and n=1 bn are positive-term

series, P∞ P∞

(1) if an ≤ bn for all n and Pn=1 bn converges, thenP n=1 an converges

∞ ∞

(2) if an ≥ bn for all n and n=1 bn diverges, then n=1 bn diverges.

3

P∞

How you use the Comparison Test depends on whether you think n=1 an

converges

P∞ or diverges. If you think it converges, try to find a convergent series

P∞n=1 b n with an ≤ bn , and if you think it diverges, find a divergent series

n=1 bn with an ≥ bn .

P∞ P∞

If n=1 an and n=1 bn are positive-term series P∞and limn→∞

P∞an /bn = L

with L a positive real number (note L 6= 0), then n=1 an and n=1 bn both

converge or both diverge.

P∞

If n=1 an is an alternating series (the terms an alternate sign) and

(1) limn→∞ an = 0

(2) |aP

n | is decreasing

∞

then n=1 an converges. P∞

The alternating series test comes with a remainder estimate. If n=1 an is

an alternating series converging to L, then

N

X

|L − an | ≤ |aN +1 |.

n=1

nating series to any degree of accuracy: if you want to know the value to within

an error of E, find an N such that |aN +1 | ≤ E, and then simply sum the first

N terms.

Geometric Series

P∞

A geometric series is a series n=1 an such that an = a1 rn−1 for some real

number r. Not only do we know when these converge, but we also have a formula

for their value:P

∞

(1) if |r| < 1, Pn=1 an = a1 /(1 − r)

∞

(2) if |r| ≥ 1, n=1 an diverges.

Ratio Test

∞

(1) if ρ < 1, Pn=1 an converges absolutely

∞

(2) if ρ > 1, n=1 an diverges.

The test is inconclusive if ρ = 1. P∞

The Ratio Test allows us to say n=1 an is almost a geometric series with

ratio ρ, since for a geometric series ρ = |r|. This is why the convergence criteria

for Ratio Test and geometric series are similar.

4

The Ratio Test is particularly suited for series involving factorials and pow-

ers, since most of it will cancel when computing the limit.

Root Test

p

The Root Test says if ρ = limn→∞ n |an |, then the conclusions of the Ratio

Test hold.

The Ratio Test and the Root Test always give the same value of ρ. √

When using the Root Test, one often has to compute a limit such as limn→∞ n n.

The secret for these sort of limits is to convert them to powers of e:

√

n

n = n1/n = (eln n )1/n = eln n/n .

√

Since limn→∞ ln n/n = 0, the Substitution Rule says lim n n = e0 = 1.

p-Series

P∞ 1

The series n=1 np converges if p > 1 and diverges if p ≤ 1. This is a

consequence of the Integral Test.

5

Test Check Conclude

f (n) = an

R∞

if R1 f (x)dx converges Converges

∞

if 1 f (x)dx diverges Diverges

Comparison an ≤ bn

P ∞

n=1 bn converges Converges

an ≥ bn

P ∞

n=1 bn diverges Diverges

P∞

Pn=1 bn converges Converges

∞

n=1 bn diverges Diverges

limn→∞ an = 0 Converges

|r| ≥ 1 Diverges

ρ>1 Diverges

ρ>1 Diverges

p≤1 Diverges

3 Taylor series

The Taylor series for a function f (x) at a point a is simply

∞

X f (k) (a)

(x − a)k .

k!

k=0

The Maclaurin series is just the Taylor series with a = 0. An important feature

of the Taylor series is that if it converges for a given value of x, then it converges

to f (x).

6

To compute the Taylor series for f (x) at a, we just have to find the deriva-

tives of f , evaluate them at a, and plug into the formula.

Taylor series have nice convergence properties. For example, they always

converge on an interval (the interval of convergence) whose midpoint is a. The

radius of convergence is half the length of the interval of convergence.

Related to Taylor series are Taylor polynomials. The nth degree Taylor

polynomial of f (x) at a is

n

X f ( k)

Pn (x) = (x − a)k ,

k!

k=0

so Pn (x) is just the first n + 1 terms of the Taylor series. Taylor’s Theorem tells

us that, as long as we can differentiate f (x) n + 1 times, f (x) − Pn (x) = Rn (x),

where

f (n+1) (z)

Rn (x) = (x − a)n+1

(n + 1)!

for some z between x and a. In general, it is impossible to solve for z here. In

practice, we try to bound Rn (x) by treating it as a function of z and finding

where it achieves its extrema.

4 Convergence

P∞

There arePtwo types of convergence for a P series n=1 an : absolute and con-

∞ ∞

ditional. n=1 an converges absolutely if n=1 |an | converges. All absolutely

P∞

convergent sequences

P∞ converge. Conditional convergence happens when n=1 |an |

diverges but n=1 an converges. P

∞

P∞The alternating harmonic series n=1 (−1)n /n converges conditionally, whereas

n

n=1 (−2/3) converges absolutely.

5 Problems

1. Determine the limits√of the following sequences: (1) an = ln n/n (2)

an = (4/3)n (3) an = nln n (4) an = (2/3)n n2 (5) an = 1,000,000

n n

n! (6)

sin n

an = ln ln ln(n) (7) an = √1n .

p √

2. Show that the sequence 25 − 1/ n converges by first applying the bounded

and monotone test, then determine its limit.

P∞ n

3. Does the series n=1 (−1/2) + 1/n converge?

1

P∞

4. Does

P∞the series1 n=1 n ln n ln ln n converge? Determine all values of p for

which n=1 n ln n(ln ln n)p converges.

7

5. Determine if the following series converge or diverge.

(1)

∞

X 1

n=1

ln n

(2)

∞ n

X 1 2

n=1

n 3

(3)

∞ √

X | sin(n4 ln(cos2 ( n)) + 1)|

n=1

n17/16

(4)

∞

X ln n

√

n=1

n

(5)

∞

X ln n

√

n=1

n n

(6)

∞

X 3n n1000

n=1

10n

(7)

∞

X

(2/3)n − (3/5)n .

n=1

6. Use the Limit Comparison Test to determine if the following series converge

or diverge.

(1)

∞ √

X 4 n + 78

n=1

13n2 + 42

(2)

∞

X n+1

n=1

n2

(3)

∞

X 4n + 16n/2

n=1

7n

P∞

(4) n=1 1 − 1/n.

7. P

Determine if √

the following series converge or diverge.

∞

(1) n=1 (−1)n / n

8

P∞ n

(2) n=1 (−1) − 1/n

P∞ p

(3) n=1 (−1)n n2 .

n

P∞ n

8. Determine the value of the alternating harmonic series n=1 (−1) /n to

within .2.

convergence.

10. Show that the Taylor series for ex , sin(x), and cos(x) converge for all real x.

11. Determine the interval and radius of convergence of the following series

(1)

∞

X (x − 3)n

n=1

2n

(2)

∞

X (x + 1)n

n=1

n!

(3)

∞

X xn

n=1

n

(4)

∞

X (−2)n + 3n n

x .

n=1

7n

12. Use your answer from Problem 9 to find ln(3/2) accurate to 3 decimal

places.

13. Use L’Hôpital’s Rule to find limx→0 (x − sin(x))/x3 . Then find the Taylor

series of (x − sin(x))/x3 . What is its limit as x goes to 0?

14. Find the fourth degree Taylor polynomial of sin(x) at a = 0 and also the

remainder estimate. How many decimal places of accuracy can you guarantee

if you approximate sin(1/2) with P4 (1/2)?

15. Suppose the Maclaurin series for f (x) has interval of convergence (−2, 2].

What is the radius of convergence of the Maclaurin series of f (3x)?

16. Without calculating derivatives, find the Taylor series of the following func-

tions at a = 0.

2

(1) e5x (2) sin(x9 ) (3) x/(1 − x)2 (4) (sin(x) − x)/x2 .

R

17. Show that sin(x)dx = − cos(x) + C using Taylor series.

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