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I tasked with solving the recurrence relation $a_n = 5a_{n-1} - 6a_{n-2}$ given the initial conditions $a_0 = 1, a_1 = 4$. I do not know how to begin here. However, I know that $$a_2 = 14,$$ $$a_3 = 46,$$ $$a_4 = 146,$$ $$a_5 = 454.$$ What is the pattern here?

Edit: I have explicit instructions to use generating functions, and then extract the coefficients using the GF.

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  • $\begingroup$ Start by assuming that a solution is of the form $a_n=r^n$ for some $r \in \Bbb{R}$. Then use that to get a quadratic equation in $r$. $\endgroup$ – Anurag A Apr 7 '19 at 20:36
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It seem that $a_{n+1}= 3a_n$ for $n\geq 1$ and thus the sequance is geometric....

Prove by induction: Base $n=1,2$ is obivuosly.

Induction step: $n,n-1\to n+1$:

$$ a_{n+1} = 5a_n-6a_{n-1} = 15a_{n-1}-18a_{n-2} = 3(5a_{n-1}-6a_{n-2})= 3a_n$$

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    $\begingroup$ Yey, I go over 50K $\endgroup$ – Aqua Apr 7 '19 at 20:41
  • $\begingroup$ Could you please explain how you wrote $5a_n - 6a_{n-1}=15a_{n-1}-18a_{n-2}$? $\endgroup$ – s0ulr3aper07 Apr 7 '19 at 21:04
  • $\begingroup$ by induction hypothetis $a_n = 3a_{n-1}$ and $a_{n-1}=3a_{n-2}$ $\endgroup$ – Aqua Apr 7 '19 at 21:05
  • $\begingroup$ This is of no help to you? $\endgroup$ – Aqua Apr 7 '19 at 21:39
  • $\begingroup$ @MariaMazur It might be worth checking the OP's edit. It seems he forgot one restriction of the problem: he needs to use generating functions to solve this (probably a textbook exercise). :( $\endgroup$ – Eevee Trainer Apr 7 '19 at 23:41
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If you want generating functions, define $A(z) = \sum_{n \ge 0} a_n z^n$, write:

$\begin{align*} a_{n + 2} &= 5 a_{n + 1} - 6 a_n \\ \sum_{n \ge 0} a_{n + 2} z^n &= 5 \sum_{n \ge 0} a_{n + 1} z^n - 6 \sum_{n \ge 0} a_n z^n \\ \frac{A(z) - a_0 - a_1 z}{z^2} &= 5 \frac{A(z) - a_0}{z} - 6 A(z) \end{align*}$

Use the values for $a_0, a_1$, solve as partial fractions:

$\begin{align*} A(z) &= \frac{2}{1 - 3 z} - \frac{1}{1 - 2 z} \\ a_n &= [z^n] A(z) \\ &= 2 \cdot 3^n - 2^n \end{align*}$

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