Take the 2-minute tour ×
Mathematics Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for people studying math at any level and professionals in related fields. It's 100% free, no registration required.

I could not figure out the solution of $(x^2- 1) \bmod 8= 0$ Thank you.

share|improve this question
You cannot solve a term. There is no equation to solve.. –  user127.0.0.1 Dec 1 '12 at 9:44
Do you perhaps mean $x^2\equiv 1\pmod 8$? –  Brian M. Scott Dec 1 '12 at 9:48
sorry, it should be x^2-1 mod 8 = 0 –  Jennifer Dec 1 '12 at 12:44
Welcome to math.SE: since you are new, I wanted to let you know a few things about the site. In order to get the best possible answers, it is helpful if you say in what context you encountered the problem, and what your thoughts on it are; this will prevent people from telling you things you already know, and help them give their answers at the right level. –  Julian Kuelshammer Dec 1 '12 at 14:39

3 Answers 3

Let $(x^2-1)\equiv0\pmod{2^k}$ with $k\geq3$, i.e. $x^2-1=2^kn$ for some $n$.

We have $2^kn=x^2-1=(x+1)(x-1)$. Since the left-hand side is even and the numbers on the right-hand side have the same oddity, they are both even. At the same time, they differ by $2$ so the number $4$ divides only one of them.

Therefore they are of the form $\{x+1,x-1\}=\{n_1,2^kn_2\}$ or $\{2n_1,2^{k-1}n_2\}$, where $n=n_1n_2$ is some factorization of $n$. From this, we have $x=2^{k-1}m\pm1$ where $m$ is some integer. Four of them are in the interval $[0,2^k)$:

$$1, 2^{k-1}-1, 2^{k-1}+1, 2^k-1.$$

Easy calculation shows that all these really solve the equation. For the case $k=3$ this gives $x\equiv1,3,5,7 \pmod8$.

share|improve this answer

If $2^{3+n}\mid (x^2-1)$ where $n\ge 0$

Clearly, $x$ is odd and $2^{n+1}\mid\left(\frac{x+1}2\right)\left(\frac{x-1}2\right) $

We know using Bézout's Identity, $\left(\frac{x+1}2,\frac{x-1}2\right)\mid\left(A \frac{x+1}2+B\frac{x-1}2\right)$ where $A,B$ are integers.

But $\frac{x+1}2-\frac{x-1}2=1,$ putting $A=1,B=-1$
so $(\frac{x+1}2,\frac{x-1}2)\mid 1\implies (\frac{x+1}2,\frac{x-1}2)=1$

So, either $2^{n+1}\mid\frac{x-1}2$ or $2^{n+1}\mid\frac{x+1}2$

(a)If $2^{n+1}\mid\frac{x-1}2, 2^{n+2}\mid(x-1),x\equiv1\pmod {2^{n+2}},x=1+a2^{n+2}$ where $a$ is any integer.

If $1+a_12^{n+2}\equiv1+a_22^{n+2}\pmod {2^{n+3}}\iff a_1\equiv a_2\pmod 2$

If $a$ is even $=2b$(say,) $x=1+(2b)2^{n+2}\equiv1\pmod {2^{n+3}}$

If $a$ is odd $=2c+1$(say,) $x=1+(2c+1)2^{n+2}\equiv1+2^{n+2}\pmod {2^{n+3}}$

(b)Similarly, if $2^{n+1}\mid\frac{x+1}2$ we shall get two solutions namely, $-1,2^{n+2}-1\pmod {2^{n+3}}$

So, there will be $4$ in-cogruent solutions $\pmod {2^{n+3}}$

share|improve this answer
Honestly, I don't think that such a complicated solution can help the OP, if they're not able to instantly see the solutions of the question. –  tohecz Dec 2 '12 at 18:55
@tohecz, this is a generalization. We can safely put $n=0$ from the start to avoid complications. Though small numbers like $8$ can be handled directly using trial with $(x,8)=1$ –  lab bhattacharjee Dec 2 '12 at 18:58
Then you do it in an unbelievably complicated way IMHO. –  tohecz Dec 2 '12 at 19:21

There are only $8$ possibilities. Counting with $a^2=(-a)^2$ for all numbers $a$, it can be reduced to $5$. $$0^2=0\equiv 0,\quad (\pm 1)^2=1\equiv 1, \quad (\pm 2)^2=?,\quad (\pm 3)^2=?,\quad 4^2=16\equiv 0 \pmod 8.$$

share|improve this answer

Your Answer


By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.