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Thursday, August 25, 2011

Continued fractions (1)

Generating functions are "mathematical data structures" that can store an infinite amount of data.

For example $$\frac{1}{1-x} = \left\{ 1,1,1, \cdots \right\}$$ and $$\frac {1}{1-x-x^2} = \left\{ 1,1,2,3,5,8,13, \cdots \right\}$$ nicely represents the Fibonacci series. ( The existence of tools like the GF's made me sort of addicted on mathematics. ) If you think this is the most compact way to describe the Fibonacci series, then let mathematics surprise you. The most compact way to describe the Fibonacci series is $$\left[ <1> \right]$$ which means $$1 + \frac{1}{1 + \frac{1}{1 + \frac{1}{1 + \cdots }}}.$$ Objects like this are called continued fractions, more on these and why $\left[ <1> \right]$ is related to the Fibonacci series in the next post.

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