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Mathematics (M101)

Sequence and Series


B.Tech 1
st
Year 1
st
Semester
Sequence
Definition: An Infinite sequence is a function f(n) whose domain is an infinite subset of
whole numbers.
We usually write a sequence {a
n
} . where f(n) = a
n
The following are the example of sequences
{(.5)
n
} {n/(n+1)} {e
n
/n!} and {(-1)
n
}
You'll notice that sequences are discontinuous everywhere but never the less play an
important role in Mathematics as we will see when we consider Infinite Series.
1. a
n
= {(.5)
n
}
2. a
n
= n/ (n+1)
3. a
n
= {e
n
/n!}
4. a
n
= {(-1)
n
}
As you could tell from the examples the 1st and 3d converge to 0, the second converges
to 1 and the 4th diverges.
But do we mean by convergence exactly?
Definition:For any >0 there exists a number M such that L- < a
n
< L + .
whenever n> M Or as is usually stated given any >0 there exists a number M such
that | an - L | < whenever n > M.Then the sequence a
n
is said to converge to L.
How do we compute limits?
There are 2 very important theorems
1. Given {a
n
} if there is a continuous differentiable function f(x) such that f(n) = a
n
then lim a
n
= lim f(x) therefore we can use our results on differentiable functions and
L'Hopital's Rule.
Examples 1 and 2 fit into this category. But what about the 3d? the Gamma Function
notwithstanding we need the following
2. If {a
n
} is increasing and bounded above or decreasing and bounded below it
converges.
The first 3 examples make this fairly obvious.
Theorem: Suppose {
a
n
} is a sequence which is increasing and bounded above, then it
converges.
Proof: Let L be the Least Upper Bound of {
a
n
} i.e. it is an upper bound and there are
none smaller.
Let be given.
Let M be the first number such that
a
m
> L - . Such a number exists otherwise L -
would be an Upper Bound.
For all n>M
a
n
>
a
m
since
a
n
is an increasing sequence.
Further for all n
a
n
< L + because if L is an upper bound L+ is an upper bound.
Therefore we have shown given any > 0 There is a number M such that
L - <
a
n
< L+ whenever n > M i.e {
a
n
} converges --In fact it converges to its
Least Upper Bound.
Alternating Sequences:
Another important theorem
Suppose b
n
= (-1)
n
a
n
where an >0. Then if lim a
n
= 0 then lim b
n
= 0
If lim a
n
0 then { b
n
} diverges. Even if lim a
n
= L The alternating sequence (-1)
n
a
n
diverges as the subsequence of even terms converges to L and the subsequence of odd
terms converges to - L therefore the sequence diverges.
The next 2 examples show the divergent case and the 3d shows convergence of an
alternating sequence.
1. (-1)
n
(n/(n+1))
2. (-1)
n
* n
3. (-1)
n
(.5)
n

Lets start off with some terminology and definitions.

Given any sequence we have the following.
1. We call the sequence increasing if for every n.
2. We call the sequence decreasing if for every n.
3. If is an increasing sequence or is a decreasing sequence we call it
monotonic.
4. If there exists a number m such that for every n we say the sequence is
bounded below. The number m is sometimes called a lower bound for the
sequence.
5. If there exists a number M such that for every n we say the sequence is
bounded above. The number M is sometimes called an upper bound for the
sequence.
6. If the sequence is both bounded below and bounded above we call the sequence
bounded.
7. An infinite sequence is a function whose domain is the set of all positive
integers.
8. A finite sequence is a function whose domain is {1, 2, 3, , n}, the first n
positive integers.
Examples: Determine if the following sequences are monotonic and/or bounded.
(a) { }
2
n
(b)
( )
1
1
n+

(c)
2
5
2
n
n


'' ;;

Solutions:
1.
This sequence is a decreasing sequence (and hence monotonic) because,

for every n.

Also, since the sequence terms will be either zero or negative this sequence is bounded
above. We can use any positive number or zero as the bound, M, however, its standard
to choose the smallest possible bound if we can and its a nice number. So, well choose
since,

This sequence is not bounded below however since we can always get below any
potential bound by taking n large enough. Therefore, while the sequence is bounded
above it is not bounded.

As a side note we can also note that this sequence diverges (to if we want to be
specific).
2.
The sequence terms in this sequence alternate between 1 and -1 and so the sequence is
neither an increasing sequence or a decreasing sequence. Since the sequence is neither an
increasing nor decreasing sequence it is not a monotonic sequence.

The sequence is bounded however since it is bounded above by 1 and bounded below by
-1.

Again, we can note that this sequence is also divergent.
3. This sequence is a decreasing sequence (and hence monotonic) since,

The terms in this sequence are all positive and so it is bounded below by zero. Also,
since the sequence is a decreasing sequence the first sequence term will be the largest and
so we can see that the sequence will also be bounded above by . Therefore, this
sequence is bounded.

We can also take a quick limit and note that this sequence converges and its limit is zero.
Convergence:
A sequence {
a
n
}of real (or complex) numbers is said to converge to a real (or complex)
number c if for every > 0 there is an integer N > 0 such that if n > N then
| an - c | <
The number c is called the limit of the sequence {
a
n
}and we sometimes write a
n
c.
If a sequence {
a
n
}does not converge, then we say that it diverges.
Consider the sequence {1/n}. It converges to zero.
The sequence {(-1)
n
}does not converge.
The sequence converges to zero.
Series|
Definitions: Let{ }
1
n
n
a

be a sequence. Define a new sequence{ }


1
n
n
s

, called the sequence


of partial sums for the sequence{ }
1
n
n
a

, by the following equations:


1 1
s a
,
1 n n n
s s a

+
for 2 n .
This new sequence of partial sums is called the series of
n
a
s, and it is denoted by
1
n
n
a

.
For each 1 n ,
n
s
is called the
th
n partial sum for the series
1
n
n
a

. The number
n
a
is called
the
th
n term of the series (as well as the
th
n term of the sequence).
For 2 n ,
1 n n n
s s a

+
. This means
1 1
s a
2 1 2 1 2
s s a a a + +
3 2 3 1 2 3
s s a a a a + + +
4 3 4 1 2 3 4
s s a a a a a + + + +
M
1 1 2 3 n n n n
s s a a a a a

+ + + + + L
So we often write
1 2 3
1
n n
n
a a a a a

+ + + + +

L L
Sometimes the index for the sequence{ }
1
n
n
a

does not begin with the number 1. In


such cases the corresponding series is also indexed accordingly. For example, if
the sequence is{ }
0
n
n
a

, then the series is


0 1 2
0
n n
n
a a a a a

+ + + + +

L L
; while if
the sequence is{ }
3
n
n
a

, then the series is


3 4 5
3
n n
n
a a a a a

+ + + + +

L L
.
Examples: Below are some examples that illustrate the difference between a sequence
and the corresponding series and the sequence of partial sums.
1) Consider the sequence{ }
0
n
n
ar

, where 0 a and 1 r are constants. (If


1 r , then the sequence is the constant sequence of Example 1. If 0 a ,
then the sequence is also a constant sequence of Example 1.)
Observe that{ } { }
2
0
, , , , ,
n n
n
ar a ar ar ar

K K . The corresponding series is


2
1
n n
n
ar a ar ar ar

+ + + + +

L L
.
Calculating the sequence of partial sums:
0 0
s a a
1 0 1 0 1
s s a a a a ar + + +
2
2 1 2 0 1 2
s s a a a a a ar ar + + + + +
2 3
3 2 3 0 1 2 3
s s a a a a a a ar ar ar + + + + + + +
M
( ) ( )
2 1
1 0 1 2
1 1
n n
n n n n
s s a a a a a a ar ar ar a r r
+

+ + + + + + + + + L L
(This last equation is verified in class!)
So the sequence of partial sums is
( ) ( )
{ }
( ) ( ) ( ) ( )
{ }
1 2 1
0
1 1 , 1 , 1 , , 1 1 ,
n n
n
a r r a a r a r r a r r

+ +

+ + + K K .
The sequence{ }
0
n
n
ar

is called the Geometric Sequence and the series


0
n
n
ar

is called the Geometric Series, and will be used often in this course. The term
a
is called the first term (for obvious reasons) and the number
r
is called the
common ration since the ratio of consecutive terms is
r
.
2) Consider the sequence
( )
1
1
1
n
n n



' ;
+


.
Observe that
( )
( ) { }
1
1
1 2,1 6,1 12, ,1 1 ,
1
n
n n
n n



+ 1
' ;
]
+


K K . The
corresponding series is
( ) ( )
1
1 1 1 1 1
1 2 6 12 1
n
n n n n

+ + + + +
+ +

L L
. For any
integer 1 k , the following equality holds by partial fractions decomposition
(remember the technique of integration?)
( )
1 1 1
1 1 k k k k

+ +
. We apply this
equality to compute the partial sums as follows:
1 1
1 1 1 1
1
1 2 1 2 2
s a

2 1 2
1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1
1
1 2 2 3 1 2 2 3 3
s s a
1 1 1
+ + +
1 1 1

] ] ]
3 2 3
1 1 1 1 1 1
1 1 1
3 3 4 3 3 4 4
s s a
1 1 1
+ + +
1 1 1

] ] ]
4 3 4
1 1 1 1 1 1
1 1 1
4 4 5 4 4 5 5
s s a
1 1 1
+ + +
1 1 1

] ] ]
M
( )
1
1 1 1 1 1 1
1 1 1
1 1 1
n n n
s s a
n n n n n n n

1 1 1
+ + +
1 1 1
+ + +
] ] ]
So the sequence of partial sums is
1
1
1
1
n
n

' ;
+

. Notice that the equality from
the partial fractions decomposition allows for the simplification of the partial
sums. Because of the fact that the intermediate terms add out, this series is
called a telescoping series.
Definitions: Let{ }
1
n
n
a

be a sequence and let


1
n
n
a

denote the corresponding series. The


series
1
n
n
a

is said to converge provided the sequence of partial sums{ }


1
n
n
s

converges.
The series
1
n
n
a

is said to diverge provided the sequence of partial sums{ }


1
n
n
s

diverges.
The series
1
n
n
a

converges if and only if


lim
n
n
s S

for some number S. This number S is


called the sum of the series
1
n
n
a

and one writes


1
n
n
a S

.
Examples: The examples from above are reconsidered in the context of
convergence/divergence.
1) Consider the Geometric Series
2
0
n n
n
ar a ar ar ar

+ + + + +

L L
; 0 a , 1 r .
From above, the sequence of partial sums is
( ) ( )
{ }
( ) ( ) ( ) ( )
{ }
1 2 1
0
1 1 , 1 , 1 , , 1 1 ,
n n
n
a r r a a r a r r a r r

+ +

+ + + K K .
So ( ) ( ) ( )
( )
1 1 1
lim lim 1 1 lim 1 1 lim
1 1
n n n
n
n n n n
a a
s a r r r r
r r
+ + +



. From
our discussions on convergent sequences,
1
lim
n
n
r
+

exists if and only if


1 r <

(recall 0 a and 1 r ). Since
1
lim 0
n
n
r
+

for
1 r <
, the series
1
n
n
ar

converges
if and only if
1 r <
. In this case
1
1
n
n
a
ar
r

. It is important to note that the


Geometric Series converges if and only if the common ratio is less than one in
absolute value. In this case, the sum of the Geometric Series is the first term
of the series divide by the quantity one minus the common ratio.
2) Consider the telescoping series
( ) ( )
1
1 1 1 1 1
1 2 6 12 1
n
n n n n

+ + + + +
+ +

L L
.
From above, the sequence of partial sums is
1
1
1
1
n
n

' ;
+

. So
1 1
lim lim 1 lim1 lim 1 0 1
1 1
n
n n n n
s
n n

_


+ +
,
and the sequence of partial
sums converges to one. So the series
( )
1
1
1
n
n n

+
converges and
( )
1
1
1
1
n
n n

.
Now the question is- What properties of the terms
n
a
determine whether the series
n
a

converges or diverges? This question is answered by stating a number of tests that can
be applied to the terms
n
a
. The first such test is the following:
The Divergence Test: Consider the series
n
a

. If
lim 0
n
n
a

, then the series


n
a

diverges.
There are several observations one must keep in mind when applying the
Divergence Test.
A. The test does not say that if
lim 0
n
n
a

, then the series


n
a

converges.
B. If
lim 0
n
n
a

, then one does not have any information about the


convergence/divergence of the series. The Harmonic Series is an example of a
series with
lim 0
n
n
a

but the series diverges. The telescoping series above is an


example of a series with
lim 0
n
n
a

but the series converges.


C. The Divergence Test can only show a series diverges. It never shows a series
converges.
Examples: Below are examples of how we can show various series converge or diverge
using the information we have so far.
1) Does the series
1 n
an

converge or diverge for 0 a ?


Since
lim lim 0
n n
an a n


, the series
1 n
an

diverges by the Divergence Test.


2) Does the series
2
2
2
3
n
n

converge or diverge?
Since
2 2
2 1 1
2 2
3 3 9
n n
n
_ _


, ,
for all n, the series
2
2
2
3
n
n

is a Geometric Series
with first term
( ) 4 2 2
2 2 2
3 81 3
a
and common ratio
1
1 1
9
r < < . So the
series
2
2
2
3
n
n

converges and
2
2
2
2 1
81
1
3 1 36
1
9
n
n
a
r

.
3) Does the series
2
2
0
2 1
2 3 4
n
n
n n

converge or diverge?
Since
2 2 2
2 2 2
2 1 2 1
lim lim
2 3 4 2 3 4
n n
n n n
n n n n n




+ +
2
2
1
2
2 1
lim 0
2 3
4 2
4
n
n
n n

+
,
the series
2
2
0
2 1
2 3 4
n
n
n n

diverges by the Divergence Test.


4) Does the series ( )
1
1
1 3 2
n
n n
n

converge or diverge?
Since
( ) ( ) ( )
1 1
2
1 3 2 3 1 3 2 3
3
n
n
n n
n n n
_


,
for all n, the series
( )
1
1
1 3 2
n
n n
n

is a Geometric Series with first term


1
2
3 2
3
a
_


,
and
common ratio
2
1 1
3
r < < . So the series ( )
1
1
1 3 2
n
n n
n

converges and
( )
1
1
2 6
1 3 2
2 1 5
1
3
n
n n
n
a
r


_


,

Some important infinite series:


Geometric Series:
The series
1
n
n
x

is known as geometric series with common ratio x.


A Geometric series is convergent if -1<x<1, divergent if X>= 1 and oscillatory if x<= -1.
The p-series:
The series
1
1
p
n
n

is called p series.
A p series is convergent if p>1 and divergent if p<=1.
Comparison Test:
Let
1
n
n
u

and
1
n
n
v

be two series of positive numbers and


1
n
n
v

is convergent. Then
1
n
n
u

is convergent if
i) There exist an integer N such that u
n
<= k v
n
, for all n>=N , where k is a
constant, or if
ii)
lim
n
x
n
u
l
v

, l is a finite number , may be zero.


Example: Determine if the following series converges or diverges.

Solution
To use the limit comparison test we need to find a second series that we can determine
the convergence of easily and has what we assume is the same convergence as the given
series. On top of that we will need to choose the new series in such a way as to give us
an easy limit to compute for c.

Weve already guessed that this series converges and since its vaguely geometric lets
use

as the second series. We know that this series converges and there is a chance that since
both series have the 3
n
in it the limit wont be too bad.

Heres the limit.


Now, well need to use LHospitals Rule on the second term in order to actually evaluate
this limit.


So, c is positive and finite so by the Comparison Test both series must converge since
converges.
Example: Determine if the following series converges or diverges.

Solution
Fractions involving only polynomials or polynomials under radicals will behave in the
same way as the largest power of n will behave in the limit. So, the terms in this series
should behave as,

and as a series this will diverge by the p-series test. In fact, this would make a nice
choice for our second series in the limit comparison test so lets use it.


So, c is positive and finite and so both limits will diverge since

diverges.
DAlemberts Ratio Test: Let a
n
be a series, and assume that
1
lim
n
x
n
u
l
u
+

. Then if l<
1, the series is convergent, if l > 1, the series is divergent, while if l = 1, the test gives no
information.
Example: Let a
n
= . Then a
n
is convergent.
Solution. We look the ratio of adjacent terms in the series (of positive terms).
= =


= = as n .

Since the ratio of adjacent terms in the series tends to a limit which is < 1, the
series converges by the ratio test.
Example: Determine if the following series is convergent or divergent.

Solution
Heres the limit.


Again, the ratio test tells us nothing here. We can however, quickly use the divergence
test on this. In fact that probably should have been our first choice on this one anyway.


By the Divergence Test this series is divergent.