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Math Help - Find the coefficient (Precalc II)

  1. #1
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    Find the coefficient (Precalc II)

    Could someone please help solve the following:

    Find the coefficient of the term containing y^8 in the expansion of:
    [(x/2) - 4y]^9

    Can you please list the steps/formula and how this should be solved? TIA!
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  2. #2
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    Use the expansion:

    (a+b)^{n}=a^{n}+na^{n-1}b+\frac{n(n-1)}{2!}a^{n-2}b^{2}+ ..........+\frac{n(n-1)(n-2).....(n-k+1)}{k!}a^{n-k}b^{k}+............+nab^{n-1}+b^{n}

    Just list them out: a=\frac{x}{2}, \;\ b=-4y, \;\ n=9

    Here's the first few:

    (\frac{x}{2})^{9}+9(\frac{x}{2})^{8}(-4y)+\frac{9(8)}{2!}(\frac{x}{2})^{7}(-4y)^{2}+...............+b^{9}

    =\frac{x^{9}}{512}-\frac{9}{64}x^{8}y+\frac{9}{2}x^{7}y^{2}+.........  .... -262144y^{9}


    List them out until you find the y^{8} term.

    Do you see he pattern?. If so, you can find it without listing them all out. But it would be good to allow you to see what's going on.
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  3. #3
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    Each term in the expansion of \left( {a + b} \right)^N looks like  {N \choose k}a^k b^{N - k}.

    Now in your problem a = \frac{x}{2}, b =  - 4y and N = 9.
    But you want the term containing y^8 so {9 \choose 8}\left( {\frac{x}{2}} \right)^1 \left( { - 4y} \right)^8
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  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by galactus View Post
    Use the expansion:

    (a+b)^{n}=a^{n}+na^{n-1}b+\frac{n(n-1)}{2!}a^{n-2}b^{2}+ ..........+\frac{n(n-1)(n-2).....(n-k+1)}{k!}a^{n-k}b^{k}+............+nab^{n-1}+b^{n}

    Just list them out: a=\frac{x}{2}, \;\ b=-4y, \;\ n=9

    Here's the first few:

    (\frac{x}{2})^{9}+9(\frac{x}{2})^{8}(-4y)+\frac{9(8)}{2!}(\frac{x}{2})^{7}(-4y)^{2}+...............+b^{9}

    =\frac{x^{9}}{512}-\frac{9}{64}x^{8}y+\frac{9}{2}x^{7}y^{2}+.........  .... -262144y^{9}


    List them out until you find the y^{8} term.

    Do you see he pattern?. If so, you can find it without listing them all out. But it would be good to allow you to see what's going on.
    I see the pattern, but WOW! I'm going to do it on paper and post the final answer. Thanks!

    ETA: Answer = 294912
    Last edited by lilrhino; August 28th 2007 at 04:46 PM. Reason: post answer
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  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by Plato View Post
    Each term in the expansion of \left( {a + b} \right)^N looks like  {N \choose k}a^k b^{N - k}.

    Now in your problem a = \frac{x}{2}, b = - 4y and N = 9.
    But you want the term containing y^8 so {9 \choose 8}\left( {\frac{x}{2}} \right)^1 \left( { - 4y} \right)^8
    Plato, do you mind elaborating as to how your expansion method differs from galactus'? Would this be an acceptable method (especially when showing your work)? Also, it seems as if the 'y' is ignored in '-4y'. Or is just y=1 and it's multiplied by the 4. Can you explain it or is just one of those things that you just do and don't think about ? Thanks!
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