I will admit this is a homework problem, but I'm seriously stuck. I'm not looking for answers, but just any hints as to what to do next. Any tips would be appreciated.

I am given:
$$f_1(x) = O(g_1(x)): \exists c_1>0 \; \exists x_1 \; \forall x > x_1 \quad \lvert f_1(x)\rvert \le c_1 \cdot \lvert g_1(x)\rvert$$ $$f_2(x) = O(g_2(x)): \exists c_2>0 \; \exists x_2 \; \forall x > x_2 \quad \lvert f_2(x)\rvert \le c_2 \cdot \lvert g_2(x)\rvert$$

And I have to do the following:

Assume $g_1$ and $g_2$ are non-negative. Find explicit formulas for $c_3$ and $x_3$ (in terms of $c_1, c_2, x_1,$ and $x_2$) so that $$\text{for all } x > x_3, \lvert f_1(x) + f_2(x) \rvert \le c_3 \cdot \lvert g_1(x) + g_2(x) \rvert$$

Essentially I am showing that $f_1(x) + f_2(x) = O(g_1(x) + g_2(x))$.

From the given information I can get that $$ {\lvert f_1(x) \rvert \over \lvert g_1(x)\rvert} \le c_1 \quad \text{and} \quad {\lvert f_2(x) \rvert \over \lvert g_2(x)\rvert} \le c_2$$

But this is where I get stuck. I have no idea how to proceed next. Can anyone give some pointers?


With the given information, if we set $x > \max\{x_1,x_2 \}$, then we get

\begin{align} |f_1(x) + f_2(x)| &\leq |f_1(x)| + |f_2(x)| \\ &\leq c_1|g_1(x)| + c_2 | g_2(x)|\\ &\leq \max \{c_1,c_2 \}(g_1(x) + g_2(x)). \quad(\text{since $g_1,g_2$ are nonnegative} ) \end{align}

So $c_3 = \max \{c_1,c_2 \}$ and $x_3 = \max\{x_1,x_2 \}$ as required.

You can actually go further with this (and it is just one more line) and show that $f_1 + f_2 \in O(\max \{g_1, g_2 \} )$, but I will leave that to you.

I should also note that your question asks for "an explicit formula". The formula for the maximum of two numbers is $$\max \{a,b \} = \frac{a + b + |a - b|}{2}.$$


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