# Monotonic sequence help!

1. Nov 17, 2005

### elle

Hi, I was asked to prove a sequence was monotonic but I'm not sure if my answer is right. Can someone please help me check and point out any errors? Thanks very much!

Last edited: Nov 17, 2005
2. Nov 17, 2005

### shmoe

You find that

$$U_{n+1}-U_n=\frac{1}{n(n+1)}$$

this is correct (though when you find $$U_{n+1}$$ in the first line, your substitution is wonky). Your next inequality, the

$$\frac{1}{n(n+1)}\leq\frac{n-1}{n}$$

while correct when n>1, does not help you show $$U_{n+1}\geq U_{n}$$. To show this you just need to prove that $$U_{n+1}-U_n\geq 0$$ which you've essentially got, right?

3. Nov 17, 2005

### elle

Ohh thanks for the pointers!

Erm so basically Ive shown that $$U_{n+1}-U_n\geq 0$$? So would it be best to take out the part

$$\frac{1}{n(n+1)}\leq\frac{n-1}{n}$$

since like you said, it only proves true for when n > 1. And see $$U_{n+1}\geq U_{n}$$, is that not monotonic increasing?

Last edited: Nov 17, 2005
4. Nov 17, 2005

### shmoe

Do you see why this follows from what you've shown:

$$U_{n+1}-U_n=\frac{1}{n(n+1)}$$??

This only being true when n>1 isn't the reason to leave it out- it doesn't actually help. You want to bound
$$U_{n+1}-U_n$$ from below by 0, an upper bound for it won't help.

Yes.

5. Nov 17, 2005

### elle

Erm I think so....is it because for any natural number n, $$U_{n+1}-U_n=\frac{1}{n(n+1)}$$ would be equal or greater than 0?? :uhh:

Oh if that's monotonic increasing...does that mean I've made a mistake in my last statement? I wrote it was monotonic decreasing...

6. Nov 17, 2005

### shmoe

Yes! Have some confidence! It wasn't a difficult jump, I just wanted you to explicitly say it

Increasing is correct, you've shown the (n+1)st term is no smaller than the nth term.

By the way, you could also write:

$$U_n=1-\frac{1}{n}$$

and increasing should be more immediate, though finding $$U_{n+1}-U_n$$ explictly like you've done is good too!

7. Nov 17, 2005

### elle

Haha yer, I think I sometimes need a little 'push' but its quite hard coz I tend to be in doubt quite a lot. I've not really done much work on sequences before hence the difficulty I'm having with coursework at the moment Thanks very much for your patience

Is it okay if I ask a few more questions? I've to decide whether the following are bounded above, below or both (bounded). And to also state the supremum and infimum.

I tried the first question out of the three but I'm stuck and dunno how to continue

http://tinypic.com/fubdd3.jpg"

For questions 2 and 3, am I suppose to treat the terms in it separately and then combine them at the end?

Question 2 for example, Un = (-1)^n I think is bounded by -1 and 1. And then for (1-1/n), by writing down the nxt few terms in the sequence I get:

{ 0, 1/2, 2/3 ... } so its bounded between 0 and 1?

Last edited by a moderator: Apr 21, 2017
8. Nov 17, 2005

### shmoe

I'm happy to help.

In all of those questions it's a good idea to write out the first few terms. You can then try to guess at bounds and sup, inf, then try to prove analytically that your guess is correct.

Try this for #1.

For #2, you are correct that (-1)^n is bounded below by -1 and above 1 (it's just alternating between these two values) and that 1-1/n is bounded below by 0 and above by 1 (though 0 is not the first term in the sequence and you can actually get a sharper lower bound). Can you combine these bounds to get bounds for $$U_n$$? Again, you might want to write out the first few terms of $$U_n$$, not just the 'pieces' of it. It might also be a good idea to plot these points on a number line. Ditto for #3.

9. Nov 17, 2005

### elle

hmm okay ive tried writing the terms for the first question but I don't think I'm doing it right...

Oh well here goes:

{ 99, 26, 32.3, 26, 19... }

10. Nov 17, 2005

### shmoe

Almost...{99, 51, 32.333..., 26, 19, ...}

Now this isn't enough to give a lower bound for this one, but can you guess an upper bound? How about a supremum?

For the lower bound, you're either going to need more terms or do something else to examine the long term behavior of this guy. I'd suggest doing something else. When n is large the 100/n term is very small, so what are the $$U_n$$ terms close to?

11. Nov 17, 2005

### elle

hmm I'm guessing the supremum is 99 and the infimum is 0?

12. Nov 17, 2005

### shmoe

Good on the supremum, but why 0 for the infimum? What if n=100000001?

13. Nov 17, 2005

### elle

hmm but is it not getting closer and closer to 0? Actualli I've noticed if n = 100000001 then Un = 0.000....999 and then if n gets larger than 100000001 it still remains the same answer....:uhh:

EDITED - Oh wait I think my observation on the decimal digits are wrong....it gets closer and closer to zero does it not?

Last edited: Nov 17, 2005
14. Nov 17, 2005

### shmoe

You're missing the $$(-1)^n$$ part of $$U_n$$...

$$U_{10000001}=\frac{100}{10000001}+(-1)^{10000001}$$

15. Nov 17, 2005

### elle

ohhh....its -0.9999 oops....

hmm okay...since n can be really really large, can it be possible that infimum doesnt exist? Can it be infinity?

16. Nov 17, 2005

### shmoe

n can be really large, but it's the values of the $$U_n$$'s that we're worried about. So you've seen that you can get close to -1, but can you ever be smaller? Can you show that you always have $$U_n>-1$$? Is this even true?

17. Nov 17, 2005

### elle

ahh okies I'll think about it....but now I need to go to sleep. It's 2.30 am :zzz: still got college tomorrow.

Thanks very much for your help! And of course your patience coz even to myself I feel utterly dumb....

THANKS!!!