Questions tagged [sequences-and-series]

For questions concerning sequences and series. Typical questions concern, but are not limited to: identifying sequences, identifying terms, recurrence relations, $\epsilon-N$ proofs of convergence, convergence tests, finding closed forms for sums. For questions on finite sums, use the (summation) tag instead.

Sequences and series are often considered as a main part of part of calculus, in addition to limits, continuity, differentiation and integration.

A sequence is an enumerated collection of objects in which repetitions are allowed. There are special types of sequences, such as arithmetic sequences (or arithmetic progressions), where the next term is a constant more than the previous; harmonic progressions, which is formed by taking the reciprocal of each term of an arithmetic progression; logarithmic progression, which is formed from a series whose progression getting smaller; and geometric progressions, where the next term is a constant multiplied by the previous term.

A sequence can be given by a direct formula (e.g. $a_n = 2^n + 3$), or by a recurrence relation. In a recurrence relation, the relation between the next term and the earlier terms is given. An example is the recurrence relation $F_{n+2}=F_{n+1}+F_n, n \geq 0.$ Together with the initial terms $F_0=0$ and $F_1=1$, this recurrence relation defines the famous Fibonacci sequence.

A series is formed by summing a sequence. A typical question is: When the number of summed terms goes to infinity, does the sum approach a finite limit? In other words, is it convergent? Several tests, such as the ratio test, the root test, the limit comparison test, the integral test, etc. can help to answer these questions.

Important note. Questions about guessing the next number in a sequence, with no explicit mathematical context, will usually be quickly closed. Consider posting these questions at Puzzling Stack Exchange instead.

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Different methods to compute $\sum\limits_{k=1}^\infty \frac{1}{k^2}$ (Basel problem)

As I have heard people did not trust Euler when he first discovered the formula (solution of the Basel problem) $$\zeta(2)=\sum_{k=1}^\infty \frac{1}{k^2}=\frac{\pi^2}{6}.$$ However, Euler was Euler and he gave other proofs. I believe many of you…
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My son's Sum of Some is beautiful! But what is the proof or explanation?

My youngest son is in $6$th grade. He likes to play with numbers. Today, he showed me his latest finding. I call it his "Sum of Some" because he adds up some selected numbers from a series of numbers, and the sum equals a later number in that same…
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How can I evaluate $\sum_{n=0}^\infty(n+1)x^n$?

How can I evaluate $$\sum_{n=1}^\infty\frac{2n}{3^{n+1}}$$? I know the answer thanks to Wolfram Alpha, but I'm more concerned with how I can derive that answer. It cites tests to prove that it is convergent, but my class has never learned these…
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Evaluating $\lim\limits_{n\to\infty} e^{-n} \sum\limits_{k=0}^{n} \frac{n^k}{k!}$

I'm supposed to calculate: $$\lim_{n\to\infty} e^{-n} \sum_{k=0}^{n} \frac{n^k}{k!}$$ By using WolframAlpha, I might guess that the limit is $\frac{1}{2}$, which is a pretty interesting and nice result. I wonder in which ways we may approach it.
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Is there an elementary proof that $\sum \limits_{k=1}^n \frac1k$ is never an integer?

If $n>1$ is an integer, then $\sum \limits_{k=1}^n \frac1k$ is not an integer. If you know Bertrand's Postulate, then you know there must be a prime $p$ between $n/2$ and $n$, so $\frac 1p$ appears in the sum, but $\frac{1}{2p}$ does not. Aside from…
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When can you switch the order of limits?

Suppose you have a double sequence $\displaystyle a_{nm}$. What are sufficient conditions for you to be able to say that $\displaystyle \lim_{n\to \infty}\,\lim_{m\to \infty}{a_{nm}} = \lim_{m\to \infty}\,\lim_{n\to \infty}{a_{nm}}$? Bonus points…
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Are there any series whose convergence is unknown?

Are there any infinite series about which we don't know whether it converges or not? Or are the convergence tests exhaustive, so that in the hands of a competent mathematician any series will eventually be shown to converge or diverge? EDIT: People…
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Self-Contained Proof that $\sum\limits_{n=1}^{\infty} \frac1{n^p}$ Converges for $p > 1$

To prove the convergence of the p-series $$\sum_{n=1}^{\infty} \frac1{n^p}$$ for $p > 1$, one typically appeals to either the Integral Test or the Cauchy Condensation Test. I am wondering if there is a self-contained proof that this series…
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Proving the identity $\sum_{k=1}^n {k^3} = \big(\sum_{k=1}^n k\big)^2$ without induction

I recently proved that $$\sum_{k=1}^n k^3 = \left(\sum_{k=1}^n k \right)^2$$ using mathematical induction. I'm interested if there's an intuitive explanation, or even a combinatorial interpretation of this property. I would also like to see any…
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Proof of $\frac{1}{e^{\pi}+1}+\frac{3}{e^{3\pi}+1}+\frac{5}{e^{5\pi}+1}+\ldots=\frac{1}{24}$

I would like to prove that $\displaystyle\sum_{\substack{n=1\\n\text{ odd}}}^{\infty}\frac{n}{e^{n\pi}+1}=\frac1{24}$. I found a solution by myself 10 hours after I posted it, here it is: $$f(x)=\sum_{\substack{n=1\\n\text{…
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Why does the series $\sum_{n=1}^\infty\frac1n$ not converge?

Can someone give a simple explanation as to why the harmonic series $$\sum_{n=1}^\infty\frac1n=\frac 1 1 + \frac 12 + \frac 13 + \cdots $$ doesn't converge, on the other hand it grows very slowly? I'd prefer an easily comprehensible explanation…
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Sum of random decreasing numbers between 0 and 1: does it converge??

Let's define a sequence of numbers between 0 and 1. The first term, $r_1$ will be chosen uniformly randomly from $(0, 1)$, but now we iterate this process choosing $r_2$ from $(0, r_1)$, and so on, so $r_3\in(0, r_2)$, $r_4\in(0, r_3)$... The set of…
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Sorting of prime gaps

Let $g_i $ be the $i^{th}$ prime gap $p_{i+1}-p_i.$ If we re-arrange the sequence $ (g_{n,i})_{i=1}^n$ so that for any finite $n$ the gaps are arranged from smallest to largest we have a new sequence $(\hat{g}_{n,i})_{i=1}^n.$ For example, for $n =…
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Why does an argument similiar to 0.999...=1 show 999...=-1?

I accept that two numbers can have the same supremum depending on how you generate a decimal representation. So $2.4999\ldots = 2.5$ etc. Can anyone point me to resources that would explain what the below argument that shows $999\ldots = -1$ is…
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Identification of a curious function

During computation of some Shapley values (details below), I encountered the following function: $$ f\left(\sum_{k \geq 0} 2^{-p_k}\right) = \sum_{k \geq 0} \frac{1}{(p_k+1)\binom{p_k}{k}}, $$ where $p_0 > 0$ and $p_{k+1} > p_k$ for all $k$. In…
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