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Prove ( usingthebinomialtheorem

n k n

)2 = 3

k

I'mstudyingforamidtermandneedsomehelpwithprovingsummationusingthe

binomialtheorem.

n

n k n

( )2 = 3

k

k=0

ThisiswhatI'mthinkingsofar:Inthebinomialtheoremwesetx=0,andy=2,so:

n

n n n k

3 = (x + y) = ( )y

k

k=0

n

n k

= ( )2

k

k=0

AmIgettingthiscorrectsofarorcompletelywrong?Anyhelpwouldbeappreciated.

Thanks.

editedDec15'14at14:40 askedOct14'13at0:46

MartinSleziak StackPWRequirmentsAr

39.1k 5 93 202 eCrazy

342 1 3 12

n

Use(1 + 2) .FelixMarinOct14'13at1:26

2Answers

= y

n

whichisnotwhatyouwant.If

yousetx = 0 andy = 2youwouldhave2 = y . n n

Comparethiswiththegeneralbinomialtheorem,

n

n

n nk k

(x + y) = ( )x y

k

k=0

n

n

n

2 = ( )

k

k=0

n

n

n nk k

(2) = ( )6 (4)

k

k=0

Whatvaluescouldxandyhaveinordertogeta3 ontheleft? n

Whatvaluescouldxandyhaveinordertogeta2 inthesummation? k

Ifyoucanfindvaluesforxandywhichsatisfyboththosequestionsthenyouhavesolvedthe

problem.

FurtherMotivation:

http://math.stackexchange.com/questions/525266/provesumbinomnk2k3nusingthebinomialtheorem 1/3

2/27/2017 discretemathematicsProve$\sum\binomnk2^k=3^n$usingthebinomialtheoremMathematicsStackExchange

Youcorrectlyguessedx=1andy=2.

AsfarasIknowthereisnoformalalgorithmicapproachthatwillsolvethistypeofproblem.

Thisisinfactagreattoolforteachingproblemsolvingskillsbecauseitinvolvesthinkingabout

aproblemfromdifferentangleswithoutaninitiallyclearpathtothesolution.

Whenlookingataproblemyoushouldfirstwriteitdownandexamineeverypiece.Wehad

n

n

n k

3 = ( )y

k

k=0

Thefirstthingwhichstrikesmewhenlookingatthisisthatwehavebinomialcoefficients.This

suggeststhatwemayfindgreaterinsightbylookingatthebinomialtheorem.

n

n

n nk k

(x + y) = ( )x y

k

k=0

Comparingthestatementofthebinomialtheoremtoourproblemwenoticethatbothhavea

summationwithbinomialcoefficientsequaltothepowerofanumber.Firstletuscomparethe

resultsoftherespectivesummations.

n n

3 (x + y)

Weseethatinonecasewehavethenumber3raisedtothen'thpowerandintheothercase

wehavethenumberx + y raisedtothen'thpower.Wesuspectthatthesenumberswillhave

tobethesameforthebinomialtheoremtobeusefulinsolvingtheproblem.Howeverthereare

twodegreesoffreedominthesecondnumberintheformofthevariablesxandythismeans

thereisnotaunique(x, y)pairwhichwillproducea3whenaddedtogether.Note(1,4),(0,3),

(1,2),(103,100),etc.alladdtothree.

Thismeansthatwehaveonlypartiallydeterminedthesolutionbycomparingtheresultsofthe

summations.Tonarrowitdowntoasolutionwecomparethesummands.

n k

n nk k

( )2 ( )x y

k k

Bothtermshaveidenticalbinomialcoefficientswhichmeansthatwecanignorethem.Onehas

powersofasinglenumber,2,theotherhaspowersofourvariablesxandy.Wenoticethat2

andyarebothraisedtothekwhereasxisraisedtothen k .Thissuggeststousthatitmay

beusefultoassociateywith2.Ifwedidthiswecouldsaythatwebelievey = 2butarenotyet

confidentofthevaluexshouldhave.

Thinkingbackwerememberthatoneofthepairsofpossiblexandyvalueswas(1, 2)thisis

hopefulsinceitidentifiesy = 2aswedesire.Ifx = 1 doesn'tcauseanyproblemswewillhave

solvedtheproblem.

Examiningthebinomialtheoremwith(1, 2)weseethat,

n

n

n nk k

(x + y) = ( )x y

k

k=0

n

n nk k

(1 + 2) = ( )(1) (2)

k

k=0

n

n k

3 = ( )(2)

k

k=0

Whichistheidentitywewantedtoestablish.

Atthispointweknowthepaththroughthewoods.Thesolutionis:Evaluatethebinomial

theoremforx = 1andy = 2andtheresultisthedesiredidentity.Thisislogicallyimpeccable

butcontainsnonofthethoughtthatwasnecessarytoproduceit.Oneadvantageofthisisthat

ifweareluckyenoughtoguesstheright(x,y)wecansolvetheproblemevenifwedidn'thave

agoodreasonforcomingupwiththeorderedpair.Thedisadvantageisthatwedon'tlearn

anythingaboutsolvingotherproblemswhenweseejustthebaresolution.

Youlearntothinkthiswaybysolvingalotofproblemswithoutclearlymarkedpathstothe

solution.Ifyouareinterestedinlearningmoreabouthowtothinkinthiswayyoushouldread

"HowtoSolveIt"byGeorgePolya.

editedOct14'13at1:36 answeredOct14'13at0:51

Spencer

7,183 11 43

Thanksforthereply.Woulditbex=1andy=2?Ifitis,Isimplyguessedthat,isthereaproperwayto

calculatethis? StackPWRequirmentsAreCrazy Oct14'13at1:09

http://math.stackexchange.com/questions/525266/provesumbinomnk2k3nusingthebinomialtheorem 2/3

2/27/2017 discretemathematicsProve$\sum\binomnk2^k=3^n$usingthebinomialtheoremMathematicsStackExchange

Yourguessisright.Idon'tthinkthereisa"formal"algorithmtocalculatethat.Thisproblemdoesrequire

somelateralthinking.I'lladdsomemoremotivationtotheexplanationnowthatyou'veguessedtheright

value.Theimportantthingtotakeawayintermsofproblemsolvingistolearntoaskyourselfthetypesof

questionsIhavebulletedabove.SpencerOct14'13at1:11

Youarealmosttherethevalueofxshouldbe1ratherthan2,sothatweget(essentiallywhat

youalreadyhavewritten):

n n

n n

n nk k

n k

3 = (1 + 2) = ( )1 2 = ( )2 .

k k

k=0 k=0

answeredOct14'13at6:23

AG.

1,041 3 13

http://math.stackexchange.com/questions/525266/provesumbinomnk2k3nusingthebinomialtheorem 3/3

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