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Homework Help: Induction: 1+2+2^2+2^3+ +2^n-1=2^n-1

  1. Sep 5, 2012 #1
    1. The problem statement, all variables and given/known data[/b]
    Use mathematical induction to prove the following statements are true for all integers n≥1

    Attempt at a solution:

    For n=1

    ∴ it is true.

    Let Sn=Sk
    If it is true for k, it must also be true for k+1


    This is the part I have a slight confusion at, I keep getting something left over and the sides don't equal each other :(
  2. jcsd
  3. Sep 5, 2012 #2

    Ray Vickson

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    Use brackets: you have written
    1+2+2^2+2^3+...+2^n-1=2^n-1 , which is plainly impossible, because it would require that we have 1+2+2^2+2^3+... = 0 (in order to have 2^n-1=2^n-1 on both sides). If you mean 2^(n-1), then that is what you need to say.

  4. Sep 6, 2012 #3


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    You want to prove that if, for some k, [itex]2^0+ 2^1+ \cdot\cdot\cdot+ 2^{k-1}= 2^k-1[/itex] then [itex]2^0+ 2^1+ \cdot\cdot\cdot+ 2^{k-1}+ 2^k= 2^{k+1}-1[/itex].
    (What you wrote, 1+ 2^1+ ...+ 2^n-1= 2^n-1 is, as Ray Vickson said, clearly impossible because you have "2^n- 1" on both sides but with additional positive terms on the left. Of course, you meant 2^(n-1) on the left and (2^n)- 1 on the right. Those are very different and you can't ask people to guess what you mean.)

    To go from k to k+1, obviously you are adding [itex]2^k[/itex] to the sum on the left so do it on the right:
    [tex]2^0+ 2^1+ \cdot\cdot\cdot+ 2^{k-1}+ 2^k= (2^k- 1)+ 2^k[/tex]

    What do you get when you combine those two "[itex]2^k[/itex]" terms on the right?
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 7, 2012
  5. Sep 6, 2012 #4
    I figured it out, thanks!
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