Calculus Two: Sequences and Series is an introduction to sequences, infinite series, convergence tests, and Taylor series. The course emphasizes not just getting answers, but asking the question "why is this true?"

Loading...

From the course by The Ohio State University

Calculus Two: Sequences and Series

899 ratings

The Ohio State University

899 ratings

Calculus Two: Sequences and Series is an introduction to sequences, infinite series, convergence tests, and Taylor series. The course emphasizes not just getting answers, but asking the question "why is this true?"

From the lesson

Series

In this second module, we introduce the second main topic of study: series. Intuitively, a "series" is what you get when you add up the terms of a sequence, in the order that they are presented. A key example is a "geometric series" like the sum of one-half, one-fourth, one-eighth, one-sixteenth, and so on.
We'll be focusing on series for the rest of the course, so if you find things confusing, there is a lot of time to catch up. Let me also warn you that the material may feel rather abstract. If you ever feel lost, let me reassure you by pointing out that the next module will present additional concrete examples.

- Jim Fowler, PhDProfessor

Mathematics

want to evaluate this series carefully. So the claim here is that the sum k goes from 0 to infinity of 1 over 2 to the k is equal to 2. But what does that even mean? Well, what it really means is this.

It means that the sum k goes from 0 to n of one over to two to the k is close to 2 whenever n is big. Alright. This sum makes sense because this is just a finite sum it's just telling me to add one over two to the k for the values for the values of k between 0 and n. So this at least makes sense. And what is close to two mean? Well, it means as close as you want it to be to 2. And how big does n have to be? Well, it has to be true whenever n is larger than some fixed big value that depends on how close you want the thing to get to 2. Let's do the same thing, but in terms of limits. So more precisely, I'll define the sequence, s sub n. The sequence of partial sums. To be the sum, k goes from 0 to n of 1 over 2 to the k. And the claim that this series has value 2. Just means that this sequence has limit 2. It means that the limit as n approaches infinity of the nth partial sum is 2. How do I evaluate that limit? Well, let's look for a pattern. So s sub 0 lets the sum k goes from 0 to 0 of 1 over 2 of the k. So that's just 1 over 2 to the 0, which is just 1. S sub 1, well that's the sum k goes from 0 to 1 of 1 over 2 of the k. That's 1 plus 1 over 2 to the first power, which is a half.

S sub 2, well that's the sum, k goes from 0 to 2, of 1 over 2 to the k. That's 1 plus a half, plus 1 over 2 squared, which is a fourth. I could simplify that a little bit. I could write that as one plus 3 4th s sub 3. And that's the sum k goes from 0 to 3 of 1 over 2 to the k, so that's 1 plus a half plus a 4th plus 1 over 2 to the 3rd, which is an 8th. And I could add a half, a 4th, and 8th and get 7 8th.

Then I could compute s sub 4, right? And that would be 1 plus a half plus a fourth plus an 8th plus 1 16th, and that'll be 1 plus 15 16th. And now maybe you're beginning to the beginnings of the pattern here, right? I've got a half, 3 quarter, 7 8th, 15 16th here. So it's perhaps believable. I mean, this isn't a proof, it's just a little bit of evidence but the pattern is suggesting itself. That the n-th partial sum is 1 plus, let's, suppose to be a number a little bit less than one. And it's the corresponding power of two in the denominator, and one less in the numerator. So I could write that as 1 plus 2 to the n minus one over 2 to the n. Now I can simplify that a little bit. Let's split that up as 1 plus 2 to the n over 2 to the n minus 1 over 2 to the n. And I can write that as 2 minus 1 over 2 to the n. I haven't proved that, but hopefully that formula seems believable. In any case, armed with that formula, we can evaluate the limit. Well, here we go. I want to take the limit of S sub n as n approaches infinity, and now I've got that formula for the nth partial sum. So that's the limit as n approaches infinity of 2 minus 1 over 2 to the n.

That's a limit of a difference, which is the difference of a limit, provided limits exist. So this is the limit just of 2 as it approaches infinity minus the limit of 1 over 2 to the n as n approaches infinity. This is the limit of a constant, which is just that constant minus, this is the limit of a quotient, but look at what happens here. The denominator is very, very large. I can make the denominator as large as I like. Right? 2 to the n can be very, very positive. 1 over a very large number is very close to 0. So this limit is, in fact, zero. And that means that the limit of the partial sums is just two. That means that this series converges to two. And I can not only see that algebraically by, by using that limit. But I can also see it geometrically. Geometrically, I can draw a picture like this. Where I got a half. A quarter of the square, an eighth of the square, a 16th of the square, a 32nd of the square, a 64th of the square. And all these pieces fit together, to build one unit square. And what that's showing me, is that the sum, k goes from 1 to infinity, of 1 over 2 to the k, well, that really is 1. So the sum, k goes from 0 to infinity, of 1 over 2 to the k Well, that's the first term plus all the rest of these terms, so that's 1 plus 1. That must be 2 [SOUND]

Coursera provides universal access to the world’s best education, partnering with top universities and organizations to offer courses online.