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Math Help - Finding a formula for the sequence

  1. #1
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    Finding a formula for the sequence

    Can someone help me with this?

    I need to find the formula for this sequence?

    {10,-2,10,-2,...}

    Generally, what's the best technique for trying to find the formula?

    I know the difference between term 1 and term 2 is -12, which alternates signs after that.

    Thanks,
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  2. #2
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    Re: Finding a formula for the sequence

    Quote Originally Posted by l flipboi l View Post
    I need to find the formula for this sequence?
    {10,-2,10,-2,...}
    Notation \mod(n,2) means n modulo 2.
    The sequence is a_n=10\cdot\text{mod}(n,2)-2\cdot\text{mod}(n+1,2) where n=1,2,3,\cdots.
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  3. #3
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    Re: Finding a formula for the sequence

    Hello, l flipboi l

    Find the formula for this sequence: . 10,-2,10,-2,\:\hdots

    When we have a sequence of alternating terms, I use the "blinker" function.

    . . . . f(n) \;=\;\frac{1-(\text{-}1)^n}{2}A + \frac{1+(\text{-}1)^n}{2}B

    Note that: . f(n) \;=\;\begin{Bmatrix}A & \text{for odd }n \\ \\[-4mm] B & \text{for even }n \end{array}


    One function would be: . f(n) \;=\;\frac{1-(\text{-}1)^n}{2}(10) + \frac{1+(\text{-}1)^n}{2}(-2)

    . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .


    The function can be severely simplified.

    \frac{1-(\text{-}1)^n}{2}(10) + \frac{1+(\text{-}1)^n}{2}(-2)

    . . =\;\left[1-(\text{-}1)^n\right]\cdot5 \,-\, \left[1 + (\text{-}1)^n\right]

    . . =\;5 - (\text{-}1)^n\!\cdot\!5 - 1 - (\text{-}1)^n

    . . =\;\left[5-1\right] - \left[5+1\right](\text{-}1)^n

    . . =\;4 - 6(\text{-}1)^n


    This form is more readily understood:
    . . Take the "middle number" and alternately add and subtract 6.

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  4. #4
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    Re: Finding a formula for the sequence

    Thanks! I was so stuck at trying to add/subtract 12 to a number. I'm pretty new at finding a formula for the sequence.

    Any tips on what should I look out for? or is the solution merely a trial and error?
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  5. #5
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    Re: Finding a formula for the sequence

    No, not trial and error. You should proceed with your best judgment. You should also be aware that there is NO single best answer. Given a finite number of values, there are infinitely many solutions. If you create one you can justify, anyone grading your paper should not DARE to mark it wrong. There is no "simplest" version, as some will claim. "simplest" cannot be defined in this context.

    The question is fundamentally flawed. It absolutely should not say "the formula". It should say "a formula".
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