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ON THE PRODUCT OF CONVERGENT SEQUENCES

SAAD KHALID
RHODES COLLEGE
KHASA-18@RHODES.EDU

Abstract
Our purpose here is to find a deeper appreciation and understanding of the nature of
sequences. More specifically, we will be considering a proof of the limit of the product of
two sequences. Given that lim an = a and lim bn = b, we will prove that lim an bn =
n
n
n
ab. This analysis will extend beyond the elementary notation often used in early Calculus
classes, if they discuss this result. We will go through a thorough proof using and
notation, while also giving examples to help explain the implications of our results.
Introduction
The concept of a limit is possibly the most fundamental part of the topic we know as
Real Analysis. The result we prove in this paper is to show how convergent sequences
behave as products.
Say that we are given two sequences and we know that, individually, both of these
sequences converge to a limit. Something we may want to do is multiply these two
sequences together. As you can see below in our definition of a sequence, it is not
particularly obvious what it would mean to multiply a sequence with another sequence.
It would be trying to multiply two sets with n elements together and getting a single
number as a result. What we will find is that, for two convergent sequences, the limit
of the product of two sequences is the same as the product of the limits of each of those
sequences. Thus, instead of seeing it as multiplying all n elements of each sequence
together, we are simply able to multiply the limits of the sequences together. To do this,
we must begin my defining a few terms, such as sequence and limit. We also look at two
theorems that are key to the proof of our main result, namely the Triangle Inequality
and the Boundedness of Convergent Sequences. In the main proof itself, our goal is to
prove that |an bn ab| < , > 0. This is based off of the definition of the limit of
a sequence, as we shall see below. In the main proof itself, our goal is to prove that
|an bn ab| < , > 0. This is based off of the definition of the limit of a sequence, as
we shall see below.
Definitions and Theorems Used in Our Discussion
Definition of a Sequence: This definition is cited from [5].
A sequence in A, of real numbers, is a function a : N A where A R.
A sequence is often notated as an , where an = a(n), with n N .
Examples. As an example, lets consider a sequence a(n) = an = 2n. Then, a1 = 2(1) =
1 and a2 = 2(2) = 4 and more generally, an = {2, 4, 6, 8, 10, ...}.
Another example of a sequence would be the ever famous Fibonacci Sequence. This
sequence is defined as an = an1 + an2 , and goes {1, 1, 2, 3, 5, 8, 13, ...}.
Date: November 20, 2015.

SAAD KHALID RHODES COLLEGE KHASA-18@RHODES.EDU

Definition of a Limit of a Sequence: This definition is from [1]


Building off of the idea of a sequence, we have the concept of the limit of a sequence.
Suppose an is a sequence of real numbers and L R. Then, an converges to L, or L is
the limit of an if:
> 0 N : n N |an L| <
We can thus write this as lim an = L If there is no such L, then we call the sequence
n
divergent.
Examples. To show an example of a limit, we will go through both the intuitive notion
as well as an actual proof. Let us look at the sequence an = 1/n, and consider lim an .
n

Intuitively, we can see that an n gets larger and larger, 1/n approaches 0. So, in this
case, we would say that the limit L = 0. Now for a formal proof of this statement.
Let > 0 and let N =

Then, if n > N ,
n>

n > 1
>

1
n

1
>| |
n
>|

1
0|
n

Therefore, by the definition of convergence, we have proven that an converges to 0.


The Triangle Inequality. This definition is taken from [3].
The Triangle Inequality is something which we will be using in our main proof in this
paper. In simple terms, it says that absolute value of the sum of terms is less than or
equal to the sum of the absolute values of those terms. More formally, it is written as:
For x, y R
|x + y| |x| + |y|
Examples. For our first example, let x = 5 and y = 2.
Then, |5 + (2)| = |5 2| = |3| = 3 < 7 = |5| + | 2|
Thus, we can see that |x + y| < |x| + |y| in this case.

As another example, we will look at x = 2 and y = 3


Then, | 2 + (3)| = | 2 3| = | 5| = 5 = | 2| + | 3|
In this case, we can see that |x + y| = |x| + |y|

ON THE PRODUCT OF CONVERGENT SEQUENCES

Boundedness of Convergent Sequences. The formal definition for this theorem is


from [2]
Suppose an is a sequence. Then, for an to be bounded:

M R n N |an | M
An important property of the boundedness of a sequence is that, if a sequence is convergent, then it is also bounded.
Main Result
Here we will prove that:
Given an : n N and bn : n N are convergent sequences of real numbers such that
lim an = a and

lim bn = b.

Then, lim an bn = ab
n

First, let > 0 be arbitrary.


Because of what we are given, we know that, by the definition of limit:

> 0, N N n N : n N |an a| <


> 0, N N n N : n N |bn b| <
By the Theorem on Bounds of Convergent Series, we know that M > 0 such that M
is a bound for bn , so that |bn | < M for all n N.
We will then define P =max(M, |a|). While this definition may seem arbitrary right
now, it will make sense through our proof.
Since an converges, N1 N : n > N1 |an a| <
Since bn converges, N2 N : n > N2 |bn b| <

2P

2P

We will define N =max(N1 , N2 ) and let n N be arbitrary.


Assume n > N
By adding and subtracting the same term, we see that
|an bn ab| = |an bn + abn abn ab| = |bn (an a) + a(bn b)|
By the Triangle Inequality, we see that
|bn (an a) + a(bn b)| |bn ||an a| + |a||bn b|
Then, recalling what we defined initially in the proof, we can say that
P P
+
=
|bn ||an a| + |a||bn b| <
2P
2P
This is due to the fact that P is defined as max(M, |a|) and M is defined as |bn | < M ,

so both |a| and |bn | are < P . Further, we had defined both |an a| < 2P
and |bn b| < 2P
.
Thus we have proven that |an bn ab| < . By the definition of limit, lim an bn = ab,
n

SAAD KHALID RHODES COLLEGE KHASA-18@RHODES.EDU

concluding out proof.

Aid through the thought process behind this proof is taken from [2][4].
Example. Lets consider the sequence we considered when giving examples of limits,
an = 1/n. We determined that this sequence was convergent to 0. Let us consider
another sequence bn and say that it is, for example, convergent to 5. We are now able
to say with absolute truth that lim an bn = 0 5 = 0.
n

While on the cover this may seem like a basic principle to prove, it is the fact that
the idea is so basic that makes it so fundamental to more advanced ideas. Not only have
the concepts of limits and products of limits allowed for the expansion of Analysis and
Calculus, but they have a plethora of uses in fields involving engineering, fluid dynamics,
and many other topics.
References
[1] Cornell University, Chapter II: The Limit of a Sequence of Numbers, Math 3110 Lecture Text
http:.colorado.edu/ baggett/chap2.pdf
[2] Richard Kaye(2015), University of Birmingham. Sequences and Series
Accessed: 11/18/2015
http:.mat.bham.ac.uk/R.W.Kaye/seqser/boundedness.html
[3] Mohamed A. Khamsi, William A. Kirk (2001), 1.4 The triangle inequality in n. An introduction
to Metric Spaces and Fixed Point Theory.
[4] Matthias Kawski, School of Mathematical Statistical Sciences, Arizona State University.
Math 300: Sums and Products of Converging Sequences
https://math.la.asu.edu/ kawski/classes/mat300/handouts/convsumprod.pdf
[5] Gaughan, Edward(2009). 1.1 Sequences and Convergence. Introduction to Analysis.