The question is quite famous and is generally included under the topic of induction, but I didn't actually catch how to do it. And it goes as follows:

Two sequences (a1,a2,...)(a_{1},a_{2},...) and (b1,b2,...)(b_{1},b_{2},...) are defined as a1=3,an=3an1a_{1}=3, a_{n}=3^{a_{n-1}} and b1=4,bn=4bn1b_{1}=4, b_{n}=4^{b_{n-1}}. Show that a1000>b999a_{1000}>b_{999}.

Thank you to everyone who shall participate in the discussion and help me. Please explain how to do it, as well.

Note by Shourya Pandey
6 years, 4 months ago

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9 votes

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First, you should prove that an>bn1a_{n}>b_{n-1} using induction. For the base case, let n=2n=2, and it is obvious that an=a2=3a1=33=27a_{n}=a_2=3^{a_1}=3^3=27 is greater than bn1=b1=4b_{n-1}=b_1=4.

Now we must show that an+1>bna_{n+1}>b_n if we assume that an>bn1a_n>b_{n-1}. an+1=3ana_{n+1}=3^{a_n} and b_n=4^{b_{n-1}}. \(3^{a_n}>4^{b_{n-1}}


anlog43>bn1a_n \cdot \log_4{3} > b_{n-1}


This is the best I could do. I'm not sure how to proceed from here.

Ricky Escobar - 6 years, 4 months ago

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I had proceeded in a similar manner, but to no avail. Maybe we need to prove it for certain powers or pattern and complete the proof by reverse induction, because I am sure that reverse induction works. But a reference point is what is required to be found.

Shourya Pandey - 6 years, 4 months ago

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That's is a good start. However, as you realized, you needed to use a statement that is stronger than the induction hypothesis that you currently have. That factor of log43 \log_4 3 seems to mess things up.

This suggests that you should make your induction hypothesis stronger, which was what Sebastian was doing.

For example, if the induction hypothesis was that an+1>2bn a_{n+1} > 2 b_n , then you can see that the previous statement we wanted is true. However, of course, this strengthen the inequality that we get in the induction step, and hence may longer be true. Thus part of this problem is to find the stronger induction statement to prove.

I call this method of induction proof "stronger induction" (this terminology is not standard), because you have to guess at a stronger statement to show than the obvious guess. I am planning a series of posts on induction, and hope to cover this at some point in the future.

Calvin Lin Staff - 6 years, 4 months ago

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Well so the "stronger induction" here refers to the "stronger inequality" which is being used to prove the statement true.

Shourya Pandey - 6 years, 4 months ago

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@Shourya Pandey The word stronger refers to proving a stronger statement, then that given by the (initial) induction hypothesis. In this particular case, it is a stronger inequality.

Another example of a question approached by "stronger induction" is as follows:

a,ba, b are positive integers such that 2aba2+b2=sinθ \frac {2ab}{a^2+b^2} = \sin \theta, show that (a2+b2)nsinnθ (a^2+b^2)^n \sin n\theta is an integer.

For this example, the induction hypothesis of

Let PnP_n be the proposition that (a2+b2)nsinnθ (a^2+b^2)^n \sin n\theta is an integer.

is not sufficient enough for us to work on the induction step.

Calvin Lin Staff - 6 years, 4 months ago

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