# Proving a floor sum.

Given that $$a,b\in\Bbb{Z}^+$$ and $$\gcd(a,b)=1$$.

Prove the following:

$\left\lfloor\frac{a}{b}\right\rfloor+\left\lfloor2\cdot\frac{a}{b}\right\rfloor+\left\lfloor3\cdot\frac{a}{b}\right\rfloor+\ldots+\left\lfloor(b-1)\cdot\frac{a}{b}\right\rfloor=\frac{(a-1)(b-1)}{2}$

Clarifications:

• $\lfloor\cdot\rfloor$ denotes the floor function (greatest integer function).
• $\gcd(x,y)$ denotes the greatest common divisor of $x$ and $y$.

Hint:

It'd be helpful to prove this first before attempting to prove the main problem.

$\forall~a,b\in\Bbb{Z}^+\mid\gcd(a,b)=1\implies n\frac{a}{b}\not\in\Bbb{Z}~~\forall~~0\lt n\lt b~\land~n\in\Bbb{Z}$ Note by Prasun Biswas
5 years, 6 months ago

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Use the fact that $\lfloor x\rfloor=x-\{x\}$ to rewrite as

$\sum_{k=1}^{b-1}\left\lfloor\dfrac{ka}{b}\right\rfloor=\dfrac a b\sum_{j=1}^{b-1} j-\sum_{k=1}^{b-1}\left\{\dfrac{ka}{b}\right\}=\dfrac{a(b-1)}{2}-\sum_{k=1}^{b-1}\left\{\dfrac{ka}{b}\right\}.$

Now

$\sum_{k=1}^{b-1}\left\{\dfrac{ka}{b}\right\}=\sum_{k=1}^{(b-1)/2}\left(\left\{\dfrac{ka}{b}\right\}+\left\{\dfrac{(b-k)a}{b}\right\}\right)=\sum_{k=1}^{(b-1)/2}\left(\left\{\dfrac{ka}{b}\right\}+\left\{a-\dfrac{ka}{b}\right\}\right).$

Here no term can be zero since $na/b$ is not integer for $1\le n provided that $(a,b)=1$. So $\forall k\in[1, (b-1)/2]$

$\left\{\dfrac{ka}{b}\right\}+\left\{a-\dfrac{ka}{b}\right\}=1\implies \sum_{k=1}^{(b-1)/2}\left(\left\{\dfrac{ka}{b}\right\}+\left\{a-\dfrac{ka}{b}\right\}\right)=\sum_{k=1}^{(b-1)/2}1=\dfrac{b-1}{2}$

and we're, um, done.

- 5 years, 5 months ago

Consider $b=8$ and $a=9$. We have $\gcd(a,b)=1$ but $\frac{(b-1)}{2}$ is not a positive integer $\geq 1$. Then, what does the sum $\displaystyle\sum_{k=1}^{(b-1)/2}(1)$ mean?

- 5 years, 5 months ago

The sum is to $b-1$, as in $\lfloor (b-1) \frac{ a}{b} \rfloor$, and not to $\frac{ b-1}{2}$ as you had it.

Staff - 5 years, 5 months ago

Very well done....

- 5 years, 5 months ago

Warning: there is a huge hint below.

$na (\mod b)$ is pairwise distinct for $n=1, 2, ..., b$. Proof: The opposite is false by Pigeonhole Principle. Hence if we limit $n$ to $1, 2, 3, ..., b-1$ the possible remainders are $1, 2, ..., b-1$, once each.

From here we can find the sum of the $b-1$ fractional parts of $n•\frac {a}{b}, n=1, 2, ..., b-1$. We know their sum, so we know the sum of their floors.

- 5 years, 6 months ago

There's an easier approach (though essentially based on the same idea).