Categories

Number Theory – AMC 10A 2014 Problem 24 Sequential Hints

AMC 10A 2014, Problem 24 needed a clever trick of number theory. See the solution with sequential hints. A sequence of natural numbers is constructed by listing the first

Understand the problem

A sequence of natural numbers is constructed by listing the first $4$, then skipping one, listing the next $5$, skipping $2$, listing $6$, skipping $3$, and, on the $n$th iteration, listing $n+3$ and skipping $n$. The sequence begins $1,2,3,4,6,7,8,9,10,13$. What is the $500,\!000$th number in the sequence ?

[/et_pb_text][/et_pb_column][/et_pb_row][et_pb_row _builder_version=”4.0″][et_pb_column type=”4_4″ _builder_version=”3.25″ custom_padding=”|||” custom_padding__hover=”|||”][et_pb_accordion open_toggle_text_color=”#0c71c3″ _builder_version=”4.0″ toggle_font=”||||||||” body_font=”Raleway||||||||” text_orientation=”center” custom_margin=”10px||10px”][et_pb_accordion_item title=”Source of the problem” open=”on” _builder_version=”4.0″]American Mathematics Competition [/et_pb_accordion_item][et_pb_accordion_item title=”Topic” _builder_version=”4.0″ open=”off”]

Number Theory, Sequences

[/et_pb_accordion_item][et_pb_accordion_item title=”Difficulty Level” _builder_version=”4.0″ open=”off”]

7/10

[/et_pb_accordion_item][et_pb_accordion_item title=”Suggested Book” _builder_version=”3.29.2″ open=”off”]Challenges and Thrills of Pre-College Mathematics

[/et_pb_text][et_pb_tabs active_tab_background_color=”#0c71c3″ inactive_tab_background_color=”#000000″ _builder_version=”4.0″ tab_text_color=”#ffffff” tab_font=”||||||||” background_color=”#ffffff” custom_padding=”||153px|25px||”][et_pb_tab title=”Hint 0″ _builder_version=”3.22.4″]You could give it a thought first…are you sure you really need a hint ?

[/et_pb_tab][et_pb_tab title=”Hint 1″ _builder_version=”4.0″]

Stuck…? Well, don’t worry. The key to solving this problem is not thinking too much about the skips. We can start with natural numbers, from 1 to 500,000. So, a useful strategy could be to find how many numbers we have actually skipped, n and then add them back accordingly.  So, now could you take things on from here ?

[/et_pb_tab][et_pb_tab title=”Hint 2″ _builder_version=”4.0″]

If you’re a tad bit doubtful of where we’re heading even now, well no problem. Clearly, we can say 999.(1000) / 2   < 500,000 < 1000.(1001) / 2 So, now can you find out how many blocks of gaps we have in the sequence ?

[/et_pb_tab][et_pb_tab title=”Hint 3″ _builder_version=”4.0″]

Now see, finding the blocks of gaps easy ! There’s just one small thing you would have to recall. We began the count from 4…so now, the number of skipped blocks in the sequence = 999 – 3 = 996.  Now to find n, from the number of blocks , we have =  (996.997) / 2 = 496,506 This stands for the number of numbers we skipped. Now concluding this is fairly easy…could you try that out yourself ?

[/et_pb_tab][et_pb_tab title=”Hint 4″ _builder_version=”4.0″]

What remains for us to do is to add back those skipped numbers to the count, 500,000 to obtain the final answer. That gives us = 500000 +496506 = 996506

And we are done !