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Sequences

Objectives: At the end of the module students are able to


understand what a converging sequence is,
understand what a diverging sequence is,
identify whether a given sequence is converging or diverging
identify formula or rule for a given sequence
Denition:
A sequence is a list of number in a denite order:
a1 , a2 , a3 , a4 , an , a
where a1 is the rst term, a2 is the second term, ..., an is the n-th term. Or it may be
denoted as {an } or {an } .
n=1
For example:
i) 1, 2, 3, 4, ..., n, ...
ii) 3, 6, 9, 12, ..., 3n, ...
iii) 2, 2, 2, 2, , 2(1)n+1
1
1
iv) 1, 1 , 4 , 1 , , .. 2n1
2
8

Example:
List the rst four terms of the sequence
an =

n+1
,
2n 1

n Z,

n1

Solution:
2 2+1
3+1
4+1
,
,
,
,
1 2(2) 1 2(3) 1 2(4) 1
4 5
= 2,1, , ,
5 7

a1 , a2 , a3 , a4 , =

Example:
List the rst four terms of the sequence
b0 = 1 ,

bn+1 =
1

1
,
bn + 1

n0

Solution:
b0 = 1
1
1
=
=
b0 + 1
1+1
1
1
=
=
= 1
b1 + 1
+1
2
1
1
=
=
= 2
b2 + 1
+1
3
1 2 3

1, , , ,
2 3 5

b1 =
b2
b3

1
2
2
3
3
5

I. Convergence and Divergence


Let us look at the following sequences:

1
1 1 1
(i)
= 1, , , ,
n 1
2 3 4
1
n

1.2
1.0
0.8
0.6
0.4
0.2
0

n
0

The terms in the sequence


fore it is possible to write

1
n

10

tends to approach 0 as n becomes larger and larger. There1


n

0 as n .
1

We say that 0 is the limit of the above sequence as n tends to innity. If a sequence has
a limit, we say the sequence is convergent, and that the sequence converges to the limit.

(ii) n

= 1,2,3,4,
n
5
4
3
2
1
n

0
0

The terms in the sequence {n} increases without bound, the limit does not exist or
1
innite. The sequence does not converge to a limit, we say that the sequence is divergent.
Denition:
For a given sequence converges to a limit
an

n=1

L as n

where L is some number, we mean that we can make an as close to L as we want for
all suciently large n. If the limit of the sequence exists and nite, we say that the
sequence is convergent. When
an

n=1

as n

we mean that we can make an as large as we want for all suciently large n. The value
of an get larger and larger without bound as n approaches innity, we say that the
sequence is divergent. To nd the limit of the sequence, we must calculate
lim an .
n

Example 1:
Find the limit of the sequence
an =

n2 + 1
n2

Solution:
To nd the limit,
n2 + 1
n
n2
1
1 + n2
= lim
n
1
1+0
=
=1
1

lim an =
n

lim

The sequence converges to 1.


Example 2:
Find the limit of the sequence
an =

n2 + 2
n1

Solution:
To nd the limit,
n2 + 2
n n 1
2
n+ n
= lim
n 1 1
n
+0
=
=
10

lim an =
n

lim

The sequence is divergent.


II. The Limit Laws
If {an } and {bn } are convergent sequences and c is a constant,
1. lim (an + bn ) = lim an + lim bn
n

2. lim (an bn ) = lim an lim bn


n

3. lim c an = c lim an
n

4. lim c = c
n

5. lim (an bn ) = lim an lim bn


n

6. lim
n

an
bn

lim an
=

lim bn

if

lim bn = 0
n

n
p

7. lim (an )p =
n

lim an

provided

an 0

Theorem 1:
Let an be a sequence, let f (n) = an and suppose that f (x) exists for every real number
x 1.
i) If lim f (x) = L, then lim f (n) = L
x

ii) If lim f (x) = (or ), then lim f (n) = (or )


x

Example:
1
If an = 1 + n , determine whether {an } converges/diverges.
Solution:
1
Let f (n) = 1 + n , then f (x) = 1 +

1
x

for every real number x 1,

lim f (x) = lim


x

1+

1
= 1+0 =1
x

Thus the sequence {an } converges to 1.


Theorem 2:
If lim |an | = 0 then lim an = 0. This theorem is useful when the limit is zero.
n

Sandwich Theorem (Squeeze Theorem)


If an bn cn for all n n0 and lim an = lim cn = L, then lim bn = L.
n

Example:
Determine whether the sequence below
i.) an = 1 n2 1
4
ii.) an =

n1
2n + 1

(1)n
iii.) an =
n
5

iv.) an = (1)n1
v.) an =

ln n
n

converges or diverges. If it converges, nd the limit.


Solution:
i.)

1 2
n
4

1 n=1 = 3 , 0 , 5 , 3 ,
4
4
To determine whether the sequence converges or diverges, we check the term at
limit n ,
1
1 2
lim
n 1 = lim n2 lim (1) =
n
n 4
4 n
Limit does not exist and the sequence diverges.

ii.) The sequence

n1
1 2 3
= 0, , , ,
2n + 1 n=1
5 7 9
The limit of the sequence at n is
n1
= lim
n 2n + 1
n
lim

n
1
n
n
1
2n
+n
n

1
n 2 +

= lim

1
n
1
n

1
2

The sequence converges to 1 .


2
iii.) The sequence

(1)n
1
1 1
= 1 , , , ,
n
2
3 4
n=1
The limit of the sequence at n
lim
n

(1)n
1
= lim = 0
n n
n

By Theorem 2,
(1)n
=0
n
n
lim

The sequence converges to 0.


iv.) The terms (1)n1 oscillates between 1 and 1 as follows
(1)n1

n=1

= 1 , 1 , 1 , 1 ,

Thus, lim (1)n1 does not exist and the sequence diverges.
n
Note: In this case, it is wrong to use Theorem 2 to show that
lim |(1)n1 | = lim |1| = 1
n

and say that the sequence (1)n1 converges.


6

v.) The sequence


ln n
n

0 0.693 1.099 1.386 1.61


,
,
,
,
,
1
2
3
4
5
= 0 , 0.3465 , 0.365 , 0.3465 , 0.322 , 0.298 ,
=

n=1

The limit of the sequence at n is


1
ln n
n
lim
= lim
=0
n n
n 1

where we have used the LHopital rule to evaluate the limit of the sequence.
The sequence converges to 0.

Theorem 3:
The sequence {r n } is convergent if |r| <
r = 1, i.e.,

1
n
lim r =
n

undened

1 and r = 1, and divergent if |r| > 1 and


if
if
if
if

|r| < 1 , (convergent)


r = 1 , (convergent)
|r| > 1 , (divergent)
r = 1 , (divergent)

Example:
The limit

2 n
n
3
2
is convergent because r = 3 , and thus |r| = | 2 | =
3
2 n
limit lim
= 0.
n
3
The sequence converges to 0.
lim

2
3

< 1. Then by Theorem 3, the

Example:
The sequence {an } = {(1.01)n } is divergent because r = 1.01 > 1, then by Theorem 3
that the limit lim (1.01)n = .
n

The sequence diverges.


Example:
Show whether the sequence represented by
cos2 n
an =
3n
7

converges/diverges.
Solution:
Since 1 < cos n < 1 and thus 0 < cos2 n < 1 for all positive n, then
0<

cos2 n
1
< n.
n
3
3

The limit on the right-hand side when n is


1
1
= lim
n
n 3
n 3
lim

since by Theorem 3 where r =

1
3

= 0,

< 1. Hence,

cos2 n
1
< lim n
lim 0 < lim
n
n
n
n 3
3
cos2 n
0 < lim
<0
n
3n
By Squeeze Theorem, the sequence an converges to 0.
Example:
If RM1000 is invested at a rate of 6% interest, compounded annually, then after n years
the investment is worth an = 1000(1.06)n RM.
a) Find the rst 3 terms of the sequence {an }.
b) Is the sequence convergent or divergent? Explain.
Solution:
a) The rst 3 terms are
a1 = 1000(1.06)1 = 1060
a2 = 1000(1.06)2 = 1123.60
a3 = 1000(1.06)3 = 1190.01
b) The sequence is divergent because the limit
lim (1.06)n =
n

due to r = 1.06 > 1.


The sequence divergent.

Denition:
A sequence {an } is called monotonic increasing if an < an+1 for all n 1, i.e.,
a1 < a2 < a3 < < an <
It is called monotonic decreasing if an > an+1 for all a 1, i.e.,
a1 > a2 > a3 > > an >
Example:
Determine whether the sequence below is monotonic increasing/decreasing or not monotonic.
i) an =

1
5n

ii) an = n +

1
n

Solution:
i) The sequence

1 1 1
, , ,
5 52 53
for all n 1. It is monotonic decreasing.
{an } =

an > an+1

ii) The sequence

1
1
,3+ ,
2
3
for all n 1. It is monotonic increasing.
{an } = 1 + 1 , 2 +

an < an+1

Exercise:
Determine whether the sequence converges or diverges. If it converges nd the limit.
i) an =

ln n
ln 2n

ii) an =

2
1+
n

iii) an =

3
1+
n

1
n