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Homework Help: Can I use an analogus function to show that the sequence is increasing or decreasing?

  1. Sep 23, 2004 #1

    This is the solution I have for a problem in my textbook regarding sequences. I just need to know whether I have the right idea in mind.

    Thank you very much!

    We can use an analogus function to show that the sequence given by

    [tex] a_{n+1} = \sqrt{2+a_n} \quad a_1 = \sqrt{2} [/tex]

    is increasing. Here it goes

    [tex] y = \sqrt{2+x} = \left( 2+x \right) ^{\frac{1}{2}} [/tex]

    [tex] \frac{dy}{dx}=\frac{1}{2\sqrt{2+x}}>0 \Longrightarrow a_{n+1}>a_n [/tex]
    Last edited: Sep 23, 2004
  2. jcsd
  3. Sep 23, 2004 #2
    You'd have to prove not that the function itself is increasing but that the nth iterate of x is less than the n+1st iterate of x. IF f is increasing then x<f(x) will to the job, I think, because then you could take f of both sides n times to get f^n(x)<f^n+1(x).

  4. Sep 23, 2004 #3
    Ok I gave it some thought and I really can't give you a definitive answer but I can ask you why you think that your analogous function is analogous? The question posed in the book will have a_infinity = 2 and in fact the function converges to the function y^2 - y - 2 = 0, whereas y = sqrt(2+x) goes well beyond 2. It just doesn't add up too well to me. I'll delete this if someone gives a better response (or maybe my incorrectness will compell someone to answer correctly)
  5. Sep 23, 2004 #4

    I've just found out it is better to use mathematical induction or graphical methods instead. Thanks for the help.
  6. Sep 24, 2004 #5


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    I've used Differential Calculus to find out when does it increase or decrease a sequence with an anologous function, and then just check for n>= 1 values. I see no problem using this method as long as you understand what you're doing.
  7. Sep 28, 2004 #6
    Oh... really? That's good.

    Thank you very much!!
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