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Math Help - Modular Arithmetic (Basic)

  1. #1
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    Modular Arithmetic (Basic)

    prove that a( a + 1 )(2a + 1) is divisible by 6 for every integer a.

    Now my book says

    "By taking least absolute residues mod (6), we see that a = 0, -1,1 -2,2 or 3"

    What the hell does "least absolute residue" mean? Can someone explain this very carefully? (Yes I'm self learning so please don't leave out any important details)

    And how do they get a = 0,-1,1,-2,2 or 3???????

    Thanks very much!!!
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  2. #2
    Super Member Bacterius's Avatar
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    If this is divisible by 6, then we have :

    a(a + 1)(2a + 1) \equiv 0 \pmod{6}

    Note that from the definition of the modulus operation, a \in [0..5] (try with a = 6, you will get the same result than with a = 0). That comes from the fact that ab \equiv (a \pmod{m})(b \pmod{m}) \pmod{m}. Thus you can check all values of a \in [0..5] :

    a = 0, 0(0 + 1)(2 \times 0 + 1) \equiv 0 \pmod{6}

    a = 1, 1(1 + 1)(2 \times 1 + 1) \equiv 1 \times 2 \times 3 \equiv 6 \equiv 0 \pmod{6}

    Etc ... and you will find out that for a \in [0..5], it works. Thus it works for a + 6k, with k \in \mathbb{Z}, which matches the set of all integer a.

    Is it clear enough, or didn't you understand anything ?
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  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bacterius View Post
    If this is divisible by 6, then we have :

    a(a + 1)(2a + 1) \equiv 0 \pmod{6}

    Note that from the definition of the modulus operation, a \in [0..5] (try with a = 6, you will get the same result than with a = 0). That comes from the fact that ab \equiv (a \pmod{m})(b \pmod{m}) \pmod{m}. Thus you can check all values of a \in [0..5] :

    a = 0, 0(0 + 1)(2 \times 0 + 1) \equiv 0 \pmod{6}

    a = 1, 1(1 + 1)(2 \times 1 + 1) \equiv 1 \times 2 \times 3 \equiv 6 \equiv 0 \pmod{6}

    Etc ... and you will find out that for a \in [0..5], it works. Thus it works for a + 6k, with k \in \mathbb{Z}, which matches the set of all integer a.

    Is it clear enough, or didn't you understand anything ?
    Thank you, that was so helpful!!
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  4. #4
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    Alternatively:

    1^2+2^2+\ldots + a^2 = \frac{a(a+1)(2a+1)}{6}
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  5. #5
    MHF Contributor Drexel28's Avatar
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    Alternatively (alternatively):

    Let f(n)=n(n+1)\left(2n+1\right)

    Then f(n+1)-f(n)=6\left(n+1\right)^2 and the it follows by induction.
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