# A LIMITED ARITHMETIC ON SIMPLE CONTINUED FRACTIONS

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1 A LIMITED ARITHMETIC ON SIMPLE CONTINUED FRACTIONS C. T. L O N G and J. H. JORDAN Washington State University, Pullman, Washington -*-* Introduction,, As Is well known., a number of remarkable and interesting relationships exist between the golden ratio of the Greeks and the numbers in the Fibonacci sequence,, relationship and another is the familiar equation Binet f s formula is one example of such a F -, 1 T ni «1,, n ^ m» where a (1 V5)/2 and F denotes the n Fibonacci number. In this paper, we derive other interesting relationships involving the Fibonacci numbers and the simple continued fraction expansions of multiples of the golden ratio. We also extend these results to obtain more general theorems about a certain class of quadratic surds. Specifically we establish necessary and sufficient conditions for integral multiples of the golden ratio to be of period one, obtain sufficient conditions for these multiples to be of period two and establish some partial converses for those of period two. We then generalize by replacing the golden ratio by arbitrary simple continued fractions of period one and then by arbitrary simple continued fractions of period two. Some results are exactly analogous while others are only partial. Some curious side results are also established. 2. Results involving the golden ratio. We begin by considering the following table of simple continued fraction expansions of positive integral multiples of a. Of course, these expansions are periodic and the repeating part of the expansion is indicated by dots in the style of Hardy and Wright [ 1]. Careful scrutiny of the table reveals a variety of patterns. Some of the patterns are only apparent but others, as Indicated by the theorems following the table are generally true. Note that small Latin letters will always be used to denote positive integers. Also, L will always denote the n Lucas number. 113

2 114 A LIMITED ARITHMETIC [April n [i, i] [3, 4] [4, i, [6, 2, L8, 1 1 ] [9, 1, 111, 5, [12 i, [14 [16 [17 [19 [21 [22 [24 [25 [27 [29 [30 [32 [33 [35 [46 [55 [58 [76 [88 i, 5, i, 2, 29 i, 3, i, i, 8, i, 2, i, i, i, 76 4, 5 ] 8 ] 21, 105] i, 121] [14' 1, 199] 2, 2, 2, 1, 12] 15] 16] 1, 3, 1, 1, 19] 1, 1, 5, 22] 3, 1, 23] 2, 2, 26] Expansion of na ] 1, 1, 7, 6, 7, 1, 1, 1, 30] 1, 2, 3, 2, 1, 3, 33] 7, 1, 34] 1, 37] 4 0 ] 2, 1, 7, 1, 2, 1, 41] 1, 3, 2, 1, 1, 10, 1, 1, 2, 3, 1, 2, 4 4 ] 45] 1, 2, 11, 1, 8, 1, 1 1, 2, 1, 1, 48] 1 1, 1, 6*3] ] 80] Theorem 1. Let n be a positive integer. Then na [a,b ] if and only if n Fgm-!, a F 2 m, and b L 2 m - 1 for some m ^ 1. Theorem 2 a Let n be a positive integer. Then mx [ a, l, c ] if and only if n F 2m» a F 2 m 1, and c L 2 m - 2 for some m ^ JL.

3 1967] ON SIMPLE CONTINUED FRACTIONS 115 Theorem 3. If we admit the expansions a [ 2, 1, - 1, 1, 3 ] and 4a [ 6, 1, 0, 1, 8 ], then for every integer r 1, we have a) L 2T a [L 2 r i, F 2 r, 5 F 2 r ], and b) ^2T-i^ [L 2 r ~ 1, 1, F 2 r - i - 2, 1, 5 F 2 r - i - 2]. Unlike T h e o r e m s 1 and 2, the converse of Theorem 3 is not true as is easily seen by considering the expansions of 4a, 16a, and 36a. The following theorem, however, provides a partial converse of the first assertion of Theorem 3. Theorem 4. Let n be a positive integer. Then na [ a, b, c ] if and only if nb F 2 m, ab F 2 m 1-1, and be L 2 m - 2 for some m 1. Before proving these r e s u l t s we derive two l e m m a s which incidentally provide unusual characterizations of the Fibonacci and Lucas numbers. Lemma 1 The Pell equation x 2-5y 2-4 is solvable in positive i n t e - g e r s if and only if x L 2 n _ 1 and y F 2 n _ 1 for n ^ 1. Proof. Since x y 1 is the l e a s t positive solution of the given equation, it is well known [2] that every positive solution is given by x yv5 1 N5 \ 2 2n ~l / n _ i n-l _ n - a_ 2 L, \ 2k J 5 22n_ 2 L \2j - l) 5 Z K 22n-2 * ' \ ko / 2 2 n ' ji for n a 1. On the other hand, by Binet's formula, j / l V 5 \ 2 n - i / l - V 5 V n - i i ^fjv-^2 ; -\ 2 j j J- v ( 2n - A s j_1 2 2n-2 - L j 1 \2j - 1/

4 116 A LIMITED ARITHMETIC [April and L 2n n-i 1 V ^ #2n - 1\ 5k 92n-2 ^ \ Z 2 k ko \ / / Combining these three results we have that all positive integral solutions to x 2-5y 2-4 are given by x L^n-i and y F 2 n - 1 for n ^ 1 as claimed. Lemma 2. The Pell equation x 2-5y 2 4 is solvable in positive integers if and only if x L 2n and y F 2 n for n ^ 1. Proof. As in the proof of Lemma 1, it is easy to show that p r (1 V5)k L k v5 F k k s where we take L 0 2. Therefore, since x 3, y 1 is the least positive integral solution of the given equation, every solution in positive integers is given by x AS -.(H^)" 9J2 (1 \ 6 ) n 2 ko ^ v ' ko ko L 2n V5 F 2 n.

5 1967 J ON SIMPLE CONTINUED FRACTIONS 117 where the last equality is a result of Lucas ; [3, p 191]. Thus, all solutions in positive integers are given by x L 2n, y F 2 n for n - 1 as claimed. We note in passing that Lucas 3, p. 199] observes that L 2-5F 2 ±4 and that Wasteels [4] proved that if 5x 2 ± 4 is the square of an integer then x is a Fibonacci number., Proof of Theorem 1. By direct calculation we obtain r i 2a - b Vb 2 4 [a,b] ^ Therefore, na [a,b] if and only if (1) n 2a - b and n ^ ^b 2 4. The second of these equations is equivalent to b 2-5n 2-4 and, by Lemma 1, this is solvable in positive integers if and only if n F 2 m _ 1 and b L 2 m _ l e Finally, since F m L m 2 F m 1 for every m, it follows from (1) that n b F 2 m - i L 2 m - i a - g - F 2 m and the proof is complete, The proofs of Theorems 2 and 4, which depend on Lemma 2, are exactly analogous to the proof of Theorem 1 and will therefore be omitted. Of course, Theorem 2 is the special case of Theorem 4 with b 1. Proof of Theorem 3. Part (a) follows directly from Theorem 4 with n L 2 r, a L 2 r 1, b F 2 r, c 5F 2 r, and m 2r since it is easily 2 shown that L 2 r F 2 r F 4 r, L 2 r 1 F 2 r F 4 r 1-1, and 5F 2 r L 4 r - 2. To obtain Part (b) we define the sequence /3. for c f series of calculations which depend on Lemma 1: Let ^ 1 by the following

6 118 A LIMITED ARITHMETIC 01 L 2r-i<* - L 2 r 1 [April ^ L 2 r - l " 2 5 F 2 r - i 1-10 \fe L 2 r _! 5 F 2 r _ i 1 Then ± i 12 ^ ^5h 2r^1 5F 2T _ t j8 2, - V5 L 2 r _ 1 5 F 2 r _ 1-10 _ N/5 L 2 r - i - 5 F 2 r -! 10 F 2 r - l ~ 2 Jo F 2T. t - 2 ft, J ^ 10 ^ *sfe L 2 r ^ t - 5 F 2 r - i 10 10(\/5 L 2 r _! 5F 2 r _ 1 ) (V5 -L2Y-1 5 F 2 r - i ) 1 \ 5 L 2 r - i 2 5F 2 r _i - 2 i p t, and "JE Lar-i 5 F 2 r - i " 2 g \Z5L 2 r _! - 5 F 2 r _! 5F 2 r _j S F j r - j - 2 j3 5. 1

7 1967 ] ON SIMPLE CONTINUED FRACTIONS 119 Since /3 5 ft, the sequence now repeats and it follows that L 2r _i<2 L 2 r - 1 ft L 2r ~ 1 TTT 2 L 2 r F 2 r-i - 2 ft - [L 2r -.i - 1, 1, F 2 r _ 1-2, 1, 5F 2r _i - 2] as claimed, 3. More general results. Since Fn^/Fn is a convergent in the simple continued fraction expansion of (1 s J5)/2, the results of the preceding s e c - tion suggest that one ask if there is any interesting connection between the simple continued fraction expansion of a quadratic surd and the simple continued fraction expansion of q where p / q is the n convergent to. The following theorems, which generalize those of Section 2, answer this question in the affirmative for surds of the form [a, b] or 4 [a, b, c ], Theorem 5. Let [a, b ] s let n be a positive integer, let PTJ\ denote the k convergent to and let t q, q. Then n [ r, s ] if and only if n q 2 m-2> r P2m-2' an( * s ^2m-2 ^ o r some integer m ^ 1. Theorem 6. Let,n,pj/q, and t be as in Theorem 5. Then n [u, v, w] if and only if vn q 2m _i, vu p 2m _j - 1, and vw t 2 m _i - 2 for some integer m ^ 1. Theorem 7. Let [a, b, c ], let Py/\, let t k Q ( k - 1 l k 1. and let s fe - P k - 1 P k1 - r ^ 1, we have D e the k convergent to T n e n > f o r e v e r Y integer a ) ^2r^ ~ P2r» ^2r» ^ ^2r b) ^ r - i LP2r-i " "!»! > ^2r

8 120 A LIMITED ARITHMETIC [April ) t 2r-1^ [s 2r _ lj q^-i, ( c 2 ^ K r l and d) t 2 r [s 2 r - 1, 1, q 2 r - 2, 1, (be 4)q 2 r - 2 ] Proof of Theorem 5. The convergents to [a,b] a r e given by the difference equations Q bq q. TI n-i TI-2 p bp p n *n *n-i *n-2 with the initial conditions q 0 1, q t b, p 0 a, and p A ab 1. These a r e easily solved to obtain i j/b ^PTT\ n1 / b - ^b^7t\ n1 (2) a, ab 2 p n 2 * V i ^ ^ ' Vl ' where, f b \fb V,/b - ^b^trv 2 4 n-l " I 2 and it is easily shown by induction that t q Q for n ^ 0. Moreover, since [a,b] (2a - b \/b 2 4)/2, it follows that n [ r, s ] if and only if the equations n(2a - b) 2r - s, (3). nn/b 2 4 Vs 2 4 simultaneously hold. The second of these equations is equivalent to

9 1967] ON SIMPLE CONTINUED FRACTIONS 121 s 2 - n 2 (b 2 4) -4 and s b, n 1 is clearly the minimal positive solution. Therefore, every solution (s,n) in positive integers is given by the equation s nn/^tt 2 ( s V 2 b2 4 y m ~\ ml,2,--., and it is easily shown by expanding the powers h e r e and in (2) that this reduces to s n4> 2 4 t 2 m _ 2 q 2 m - 2 v b 2 4 Also, from the second equation in (2), we have r n(2a - b) s " 2 (2a - b)q 2m _ 2 t 2 m _2 2 ^2m-3 tfcm-i "* b(^2m-2 a q 2 m 2 g a q 2 m ^ 2 Q2m-3 P2m-2 since it is easily proved by induction that aq q p for all n. This completes the proof. Proof of Theorem 6. Note in particular that the preceding argument essentially shows that IA\ (b \/b 2 4). ^ H 7, ^, (4) * - ^ *- t k - 1 q ^ v f a 2 4, k ^ 1.. Also, it is easily shown by induction that

10 122 A LIMITED ARITHMETIC [April m ]C (k) b V i q^-i fco mi ko m ko K 4- "I and m ll (k) b \ - 2 ^m-2 ko v ' Now, as in the preceding proof, one can show that n [u, v, w ] if and only if vw 2 and vn a r e simultaneously positive integral solutions of the Pell equation (6) (vw 2) 2 - (vn) 2 (b 2 4) 4 and of n(2a - b) 2u - w. Also, the general solution of (6) is given by 0, fcr r 0 b 2 2 b ^ b 2 4 (vw 2) vn \Jb il 4 2 { >, m 1,2, Using the equalities in (4) and (5) this may be simplified to give I (b 2 2) b "A> 2 4 ( _ i 2 b(b»7b 2 4) i Z \ 2 ~ l ) 2 I m - 2-J /m\ (b N/'b 2 4 ) ^ \k/ k-i k0 *

11 1967] ON SIMPLE CONTINUED FRACTIONS 123 m k0 m ko ko t 2m, t \lb q 2m _ t. Thus, vw 2 t 2m _ 1, vn q 2m _ l5 and vu ^ vn(2a -_ b) i vw (2a - b)q 2 m-i t 2 i n -i - 2 P2H1-1 " 1 as in the preceding proof. Proof of Theorem 7. For ( [a.b.c] a - b c Yb 2 2 define A f-a,. BA c, C ba/c, and D bb/c C * b. The following identities are useful: a ) Q2k 1 c q2ki c l2k-i/ b

12 124 A LIMITED ARITHMETIC [April b) qlki b (q2k2cl2k D / c c ) P2k a Q2k cq 2 k-i/b d > P2kl a q2ki ^2k e) (q 2 kb - cq 2 k 1 /b)(q 2 k A cq 2 k 1 /b) c / b f ) (q2kd - q 2 ki)(q 2 kc q 2 ki) b / c g) (q2kib - q 2 k 2 D(q2ki A q2k2-1) q2k2 q2k - 2 t 2 ki - 2 h) t 2 r bt 2 r _i t 2 r _ 2 i) t 2 r i c t 2 r t 2 r _i J) s 2k at 2 k t 2 k_i k) s 2 ki at 2 ki ct 2 k/b 2 9 m) ct 2 k - bt 2 kit2k-i ct 2k t 2k2 - b t 2ki -b(bc 4) n) (t 2 r _ib - c t 2 r / b ) ( t 2 r. i A c t 2 r / b ) c(bc 4)/b o) (t 2 r _id - t 2 r )(t 2 r ic t 2 r ) b(bc 4)/c. T h e s e a r e proved in a straightforward manner. To prove 7a, we have by identity c) and the definition of B that q2kf q2k a q2ka q 2 k a cq 2 k _i/b - cq 2 k _!/b q 2k A P2k B q2k - c q2ki/b» definition of B, P2k 1 / 0 1 -

13 1967] ON SIMPLE CONTINUED FRACTIONS 125 Using identity e) and the definitions of C, D and t 2 k, we have Pi b(q 2 ka c q 2 k 1 / b ) / c q 2 kc Q2kl» definition of C 9 Q2ki Q2k-1 Q2kC - q 2 k-i *2k q2k D - Q2ki t 2 k 1/^2 Using identity f) and the definitions of C and t 2 k» we have 02 c ta2kc Q2ki)/b q2k A c Q2ki/ b c fa2ki Q2k-l)/ b <*2k A - cq 2 k-l/b c t 2 k / b I / f t. We therefore have q2k^ [P2k» t 2 k, ct 2 k/b], proving 7a. The proof of 7b is s i m i l a r and u s e s identity g) at a key point in the argument. The argument will not be presented here. To prove 7c, we note that ^2r-lb t 2 r _ja t 2 r _ia s 2 r _i t 2 r _ia - c t 2 r _ 2 / b s 2 r _i (t 2 r _ib - c t 2 r / b ) - Q c(bc 4)/b S 2 r - i t 2 r _!A c t 2 r / b - s 2 r _i

14 126 A LIMITED ARITHMETIC [ A p r i l Pi (bt 2 r -ia ct 2 r )/c(bc 4) i Q2r-1 (bt 2r _ia c t 2 r - c(bc 4)q 2 r _ 1 )/c(bc 4) Q2r-i ( t ) t 2r-l A cc l2rl - c(bc 3)q 2 r _ 1 )/c(bc 4) q 2 r-i (bt 2r A cbq 2 r - c(bc 2)q 2 r _i) /c(bc 4) Q2r-i (bt 2 r -ia cbq 2 r - (be 2){q 2 r - q 2 r _ 2 ))/c(bc 4) Q2r-i (bt 2r _ia - 2q 2 r (be 2)q 2 r _ 2 )/c(bc 4) Q.2r-l (bt 2r _ia - 2(cq 2 r _i q 2r _ 2 ) (be 2)q 2 r _ 2 )/c(bc 4) Q2r-l (bt 2 r-ia - 2cq 2 r _i bcq 2 r _ 2 )/c(bc 4) Q2r-l (bt 2 r -ia - c(q 2 r _i q 2 r _ 3 ))/c(bc 4) q 2 r _i (bt 2r _ia - c(t 2r 2 ))/c(bc 4) Q2r-i ft2r-i c - t 2 r, 2 ) / ( b c 4) Q2r-i (t 2 r-id - t 2 r ) / ( b c 4) q 2 r-i -4- MbC 4 ) / C (be 4)(t 2 r _ic t 2 r ) ~~ ^2r-i t 2 r - i A 1 ~ c t 2 r / b Q2r-i a Q2r-i Vl2r-1 ' ~ P 2 j8i((bc 2 4c)/b) and P 2 (be 2 4 c ) ; V b ((be 2 4c)/b)(q 2 r _i -X ) P2 ((be 2 4c)/b)q 2 r 1 ~ -. Hence we obtain t 2 k - i f [s 2 k-i» q2k-i» ((be 2 4c)7b)q 2 k^i]. The proof of p a r t d) is similar and the argument is omitted.

15 1967] ON SIMPLE CONTINUED FRACTIONS 127 The following theorem, which is stated without proof, is a partial conv e r s e of T h e o r e m 7. Theorem 8, Let f, p,, q,, s,, and t, be as in Theorem 7 and let n, u, and v be positive integers. a) If v is such that b divides cv and n [ u, v, c v / b ], then n q 2 r, u t 2 r, and v p 2 r for some positive integer r. b) If nf [ u, 1, v j, then n q 2 r _i, u P2r-l - 1» a n d v t 2 r - 2 for some positive integer r. Remark. When a simple continued fraction has a partial quotient 1 the corresponding approximation of the convergent to the number in question is not as good as when other integers a r e partial quotients. T h e l T s c a n b e eliminated as all but the first partial quotient if it is permitted to have - l ' s as n u m e r a t o r s, The corresponding convergents would then be better approximations than the original ones. Setting about to purge the l ' s from the expressions obtained in T h e o r e m s 2, 3b, 7b and 7d we r a n a c r o s s an interesting pattern that allowed us to s i m - plify the notation. Let us define the symbol - [ a 0, a l s a 2, ] to be the expression a 0 ai -ZL 1 a 9 Although this expression might not always be meaningful,it is in the c a s e s we consider here. With the new notation we a r e able to r e s t a t e a few of the t h e o r e m s as T h e o r e m 9: a) F k a ( - D k 1 [ F k 1 > L k ]. b) v ( - 1)k [ L k 1 ' K> 5 K]- c) If i [ a, b ] then q^ (-l) k [> k > \ ]. d) If f SL, b, c 1 and k odd, then q, f -fp^! t, l

16 128 A LIMITED ARITHMETIC April 1967 ON SIMPLE CONTINUED FRACTIONS e) If f La,b,c] and k even, then t, g - \s,, q, 9 (be 4)q, 1. The proofs are quite similar to the original proofs and are omitted. REFERENCES 1. G. H. Hardy and E. M. Wright, An Introduction to the Theory of Numbers, Oxford University Press, London, 1954, Chapter Wo J. LeVeque, Topics in Number Theory, Vol. 1, Addison-Wesley Pub. Co., 3hCo, Reading, 1956, E. Lucas, "Theorie des Fonctions Numeriques Simplement Periodiques, ft Amer. J. Math,, 1(1878), M. Jo Wasteels, Mathesis, 2(1902), n Quelques Properties des Nombres de Fibonacci," * * * The Fibonacci Bibliographical Research Center desires that any reader finding a Fibonacci reference send a card giving the reference and a description of the contents. Fibonacci Bibliographical Research Center, Mathematics Department, San Jose State College, San Jose, California Please forward all such information to: brief * The Fibonacci Association invites Educational Institutions to apply for academic Membership in the Association. The minimum subscription fee is \$25 annually. (Academic Members will receive two copies of each issue and will have their names listed in the Journal.)

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