triples (x,y,z) with particular properties
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 Posts: 109
 Joined: Wed Apr 24, 2013 1:33 am UTC
triples (x,y,z) with particular properties
Hello everyone, this problem is taken from the entrance test of an Italian university famous for being extremely hard, this is the first problem of the 13 pages long entrance test and I already have no idea on what to do with it (no, I'm not planning to even try this test!):
the original text for Italian speakers is:
"Si trovino le terne di numeri reali (x,y,z) con la proprieta' che la quarta potenza di ciascuno di essi e' uguale alla somma degli altri due."
That translates as:
"Find the triples of real numers (x,y,z) with the property that the fourth power of each of them is equal to the sum of the other two"
which is equivalent to the system of 3 equations:
x^4=y+z
y^4=x+z
z^4=y+x
but I cannot do anything better than pointing out the trivial solution for (0,0,0), any hint on how to solve this problem?
Thank in advance for any help!
the original text for Italian speakers is:
"Si trovino le terne di numeri reali (x,y,z) con la proprieta' che la quarta potenza di ciascuno di essi e' uguale alla somma degli altri due."
That translates as:
"Find the triples of real numers (x,y,z) with the property that the fourth power of each of them is equal to the sum of the other two"
which is equivalent to the system of 3 equations:
x^4=y+z
y^4=x+z
z^4=y+x
but I cannot do anything better than pointing out the trivial solution for (0,0,0), any hint on how to solve this problem?
Thank in advance for any help!
The primary reason Bourbaki stopped writing books was the realization that Lang was one single person.
Re: triples (x,y,z) with particular properties
alessandro95 wrote:Hello everyone, this problem is taken from the entrance test of an Italian university famous for being extremely hard, this is the first problem of the 13 pages long entrance test and I already have no idea on what to do with it (no, I'm not planning to even try this test!):
the original text for Italian speakers is:
"Si trovino le terne di numeri reali (x,y,z) con la proprieta' che la quarta potenza di ciascuno di essi e' uguale alla somma degli altri due."
That translates as:
"Find the triples of real numers (x,y,z) with the property that the fourth power of each of them is equal to the sum of the other two"
which is equivalent to the system of 3 equations:
x^4=y+z
y^4=x+z
z^4=y+x
but I cannot do anything better than pointing out the trivial solution for (0,0,0), any hint on how to solve this problem?
Thank in advance for any help!
I just observed that x=y=z So:
x^4=2x
x^3=2
x=y=z=2^(1/3)

 Posts: 109
 Joined: Wed Apr 24, 2013 1:33 am UTC
Re: triples (x,y,z) with particular properties
yes, I also found 2^(1/3) as solution just after posting this thread, how do you know that x,y and z must all be equal to each other?
The primary reason Bourbaki stopped writing books was the realization that Lang was one single person.
Re: triples (x,y,z) with particular properties
If x ≠ y, we can do the following:
x^4 = y + z
y^4 = x + z
Subtract the lower equation from the upper one to get x^4  y^4 = y  x.
x^4  y^4 = y  x
(x^2 + y^2)(x^2  y^2) = y  x
(x^2 + y^2)(x  y)(x + y) = (x  y), divide by (x  y) to get
(x^2 + y^2)(x + y) = 1
(x^2 + y^2) is positive for real x and y, so (x + y) is necessarily negative because their product is negative. But (x + y) = z^4, which is positive for real z, and we have a contradiction.
Therefore x = y. A similar argument works for y = z, and we're done.
x^4 = y + z
y^4 = x + z
Subtract the lower equation from the upper one to get x^4  y^4 = y  x.
x^4  y^4 = y  x
(x^2 + y^2)(x^2  y^2) = y  x
(x^2 + y^2)(x  y)(x + y) = (x  y), divide by (x  y) to get
(x^2 + y^2)(x + y) = 1
(x^2 + y^2) is positive for real x and y, so (x + y) is necessarily negative because their product is negative. But (x + y) = z^4, which is positive for real z, and we have a contradiction.
Therefore x = y. A similar argument works for y = z, and we're done.

 Posts: 109
 Joined: Wed Apr 24, 2013 1:33 am UTC
Re: triples (x,y,z) with particular properties
you guys are awesome, thank a lot!
It looked harder to me, well it still is the first of a lot of exercise after all...!
I may want to post some other exercise from the same test, after thinking a bit longer, should I open a new thread or post here?
It looked harder to me, well it still is the first of a lot of exercise after all...!
I may want to post some other exercise from the same test, after thinking a bit longer, should I open a new thread or post here?
The primary reason Bourbaki stopped writing books was the realization that Lang was one single person.
Re: triples (x,y,z) with particular properties
Mine was intuition (whether it was correct or not is another question!) but the algebra above brought me to the same conclusion.
Thanks for this post, it was a good, quick stretch of the brain!
Thanks for this post, it was a good, quick stretch of the brain!
Re: triples (x,y,z) with particular properties
I'd say just post here!
 jestingrabbit
 Factoids are just Datas that haven't grown up yet
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 Location: Sydney
Re: triples (x,y,z) with particular properties
You're forgetting the rather tedious x = y = z = 0 solution.
ameretrifle wrote:Magic space feudalism is therefore a viable idea.
Re: triples (x,y,z) with particular properties
jestingrabbit wrote:
You're forgetting the rather tedious x = y = z = 0 solution.
Thw OP actually covered it already.

 Posts: 109
 Joined: Wed Apr 24, 2013 1:33 am UTC
Re: triples (x,y,z) with particular properties
vbkid wrote:Mine was intuition (whether it was correct or not is another question!) but the algebra above brought me to the same conclusion.
Thanks for this post, it was a good, quick stretch of the brain!
The problem seems to ask only for the values, not for a demonstration that these are the only solutions, so your answer would have probably been enough for the test
ok, next problem, I already did some work on it (spoilered):
"Consider an integer n and the number S_{n} of increasing sequences of integer starting from 0 and ending at n, alternatively even and odd, for example S_{3}=2 since the only 2 such sequences are 0,1,2,3 and 0,3.'
Consider the Fibonacci sequence:
f_{1}=f_{2}=1
f_{n}=f_{n1}+f_{n2}, n>2
Prove that S_{n}=f_{n}
Spoiler:
Please use spoilers if you post a whole solution!
p.s.
how do I use the [imath] tag? I had to use and external LaTeX implementation
Last edited by alessandro95 on Thu May 16, 2013 4:06 am UTC, edited 1 time in total.
The primary reason Bourbaki stopped writing books was the realization that Lang was one single person.
Re: triples (x,y,z) with particular properties
A comment on your spoiler, which I am posting here not in a spoiler, because it doesn't give anything away:
You're going to be embarrassed by how obvious this hint is.
f(2n) = f(2n1) + f(2n2) = f(2n1) + f(2(n1))
alessandro95 wrote:which, I guess, is a well known property of the Fibonacci sequence, tough I have no idea on how to demonstrate it, any hints?
You're going to be embarrassed by how obvious this hint is.
f(2n) = f(2n1) + f(2n2) = f(2n1) + f(2(n1))

 Posts: 75
 Joined: Tue Jan 15, 2013 5:48 pm UTC
Re: triples (x,y,z) with particular properties
alessandro95 wrote:To make the sequences for an even n we only need to append n to all the sequences with an odd index smaller than n, for example to make S4 we append 4 to the sequences for S1 and S3.
This is correct, and you get there from the definition of the Fibonacci sequence
Hint
Spoiler:
There is a quicker way to the answer
Spoiler:
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