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# 4 or 5?

## Analysis of Order 4 Sequences

. November 2, 2012
Faculty Research Fair http://people.rit.edu/jdd5747
Motivation:
Sequences of integers have been studied for various reasons. For example, the Fibonacci sequence
{f
n
} with f
n
= f
n1
+f
n2
and (f
0
, f
1
) = (0, 1) generates the sequence {0, 1, 1, 2, 3, 5, 8, 13, 21, . . .}.
The sequence {g
n
} = {1, 2, 4, 8, 16, 32, 64, . . .} is called a Geometric sequence and can be dened by
g
n
= 2 g
n1
with g
0
= 1 or g
n
= 2
n
. It turns out that we can also express the Fibonacci sequence
as f
n
= A
1
b
n
1
+ A
2
b
n
2
for some easily computable constants A
i
and b
i
(they involve the golden ratio
= (1 +

5)/2.
It turns out that any linear, homogeneous constant coecient sequence (LHCC) {a
n
} can be
expressed by a formula involving sums of polynomials times exponentials.
If the exponential functions b
n
i
are all distinct (and b
i
= b
j
) then it is known that every value in
the sequence is taken on at most nitely many times. In particular, the value 0 is taken on nitely
many times.
For these types of sequences, there are uniform upper bounds on how many times 0 can occur
in a sequence of order N. When all of the b
i
R, this uniform upper bound is 2N 3 for N > 1. If
at least one of the b
i
CR, then the uniform upper bound is roughly N
N
N
(the analysis is more
complex, pun intended, when some of the b
i
are not real) resulting in a huge uniform upper bound
compared to what happens when all of the b
i
are real.
Note: The Fibonacci sequence is order 2 (2 previous terms were used in the recursive formula
for f
n
) while the Geometric sequence above is order 1 (only 1 previous term was used in dening
the next g
n
value).
Conclusion: There are still many interesting, unsolved problems when assuming that all of the
b
i
are real. Sequences of order 2 and order 3 have been found with the maximum number of zeroes
(2(2) 3 = 1 and 2(3) 3 = 3). Beginning with N = 4, it is known that the maximum number of
zeroes is 2(4) 3 = 5 but examples only exist with up to 4 zeroes. So a natural question is:
Question 0.1. Is there at least one order 4 LHCC sequence with exactly 5 zeroes in which all of
the b
i
R?
For each N > 2, there is a simple way to create an order N LHCC sequence with all b
i
R
so that it has exactly N zeroes. If the answer to the previous question is yes then the next goal
would be give a family of order N sequences have at least N + 1 zeroes and ideally exactly 2N 3
zeroes.
See the website listed above for recent presentations related to this work.
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Polynomial-Exponential Sums related to Order 4 LHCC Sequences:
Suppose b
1
, b
2
, b
3
, b
4
Z so that b
i
= b
j
for i = j.
Now choose any non-zero values a
1
, a
2
, a
3
, a
4
Z.
Consider the following order 4 polynomial-exponential sums:
E
1
(n) = a
1
b
n
1
+ a
2
b
n
2
+ a
3
b
n
3
+ a
4
b
n
4
E
2
(n) = a
1
b
n
1
+ a
2
b
n
2
+ (a
3
n + a
4
) b
n
3
E
3
(n) = a
1
b
n
1
+ (a
2
n
2
+ a
3
n + a
4
) b
n
2
E
4
(n) = (a
1
n + a
2
) b
n
1
+ (a
3
n + a
4
) b
n
2
E
5
(n) = (a
1
n
3
+ a
2
n
2
+ a
3
n + a
4
) b
n
1
For each i = 1 to 5, we have E
i
: N R. If b
i
> 0 for all i, then we may also regard E
i
as
E
i
: R R which will be a dierentiable function. Otherwise, we may embed the points (n, E
i
(n))
on two dierentiable functions F
i
(n) and G
i
(n) so that F
i
(n) := E
i
(2n) and G
i
(n) := E
i
(2n + 1)
(F
i
contains the even-indiced points while G
i
contains the odd-indiced points of (n, E
i
(n))).
Dene Z

E
i

:= {n N | E
i
(n) = 0}
Facts:
1. #Z

E
i

5 for all i.
2. Some order 4 polynomial-exponential sums have exactly 4 zeroes.
3. #Z

E
5

3
4. If b
i
> 0 for all i or b
i
< 0 for all i then the corresponding order 4 polynomial-exponential
sums have at most 3 zeroes.
Goal: Prove or disprove There exists an order 4 polynomial-exponential sum with exactly 5
zeroes.
Note: These types of sums show up in studying the closed-form solution to certain order 4
sequences. The sequence
c
n
= A
1
c
n1
+ A
2
c
n2
+ A
3
c
n3
+ A
4
c
n4
with initial values (c
0
, c
1
, c
2
, c
3
) = (C
0
, C
1
, C
2
, C
3
) may be expressed as
c
n
=
m

i=1
m
i

j=1
a
i,j
n
j1
b
n
i
where b
i
is a root of the characteristic polynomial x
4
= A
1
x
3
+A
2
x
2
+A
3
x +A
4
of multiplicity m
i
.
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Examples:
1. Consider the zeroes of E
5
(n) = (a
1
n
3
+ a
2
n
2
+ a
3
n + a
4
)b
n
1
.
E
5
(n) = 0 implies that a
1
n
3
+ a
2
n
2
+ a
3
n + a
4
= 0 or b
n
1
= 0.
Since exponential functions are never 0, the only possible zeroes are from the degree 3 polynomial
(hence, at most 3 zeroes).
2. Consider c
n
= 25c
n2
60c
n3
+ 36c
n4
with (c
0
, c
1
, c
2
, c
3
) = (0, 0, 0, 1).
Then, {c
n
} = {0, 0, 0, 1, 0, 25, 60, 661, 3000, 21025, . . .}. By observation, we see that there are at
least 4 zeroes in this sequence. By Newton Polygon analysis, it can be shown that there are exactly
4 zeroes (see presentation given at Elmira College).
Analysis Techniques:
1. Rolles Theorem Was used to show that an order N poly-exp sum with all real b
i
values
has at most 2N 3 zeroes (hence N = 4 implies 2(4) 3 = 5 maximum number of zeroes).
Rolles Theorem implies that the number of (real)
zeroes of a dierentiable function f(x) is less than or
equal to r + the number of (real) zeroes of f
(r)
(x).
2. Newton Polygons Parameterize the poly-exp sum so that it has nice properties with respect
to some prime p. For example, nd the smallest integer k so that for some prime p we have:
b
k
1
1 (mod p)
b
k
2
1 (mod p)
b
k
3
1 (mod p)
b
k
4
1 (mod p)
It turns out that we can always take k = p 1 (by using Fermats Little Theorem!) for any p that
does not divide any of the b
i
. However, can we nd a smaller value for k that also works? The
answer is probably not, except that we have extra exibility in that we really only need the smallest
k so that for some prime p and 1 t p 1:
(tb
1
)
k
1 (mod p)
(tb
2
)
k
1 (mod p)
(tb
3
)
k
1 (mod p)
(tb
4
)
k
1 (mod p)
Why is k important? When parameterizing relative to a prime p, we end up embedding the original
points (n, E
i
(n)) on k nice functions relative to p.
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