I'm working on an elementary number theory book for fun and I have come across the following problem:

Find the prime-power decomposition of 999,999,999,999 (Note that $101 \mid 1000001$.).

Other than just mindlessly guessing primes that divide it, how should I go about finding the solution? I am curious as to how this hint about 101 dividing 1000001 helps. There is also a factor table for integers less than 10,000 in the back of the book, so really the objective is to get 999,999,999,999 down to a product of numbers with less than 5 digits, then I can just use the table.

Thank you!

  • $\begingroup$ $$999999999999=\frac{10^{12}-1}9$$ Now, if $n|m,(a^n-1)|(a^m-1)$ $\endgroup$ – lab bhattacharjee Aug 16 '14 at 18:19

As it was pointed in a commment $$999,999,999,999=10^{12}-1$$

Now, using difference of squares, we have $$10^{12}-1=(10^6-1)(10^6+1)=(10^3-1)(10^3+1)(10^6+1)$$

By sum/difference of cubes we have $$10^{12}-1=(10-1)(10^2+10+1)(10+1)(10^2-10+1)(10^2+1)(10^4-10^2+1)\\ =9 \cdot 111 \cdot 11\cdot 91 \cdot 101 \cdot 9901$$

Each of those numbers is easy to factor now.


You can factor further $91$: $$91=100-9=10^2-3^2=(10-3)(10+3)$$



$$999,999·1,000,001 = 999,999,999,999$$

$$999·1,001 = 999,999$$

You can figure out the rest ;D

  • $\begingroup$ Thank you, but how do you know this? Is there something obvious that I'm missing? $\endgroup$ – candido Aug 16 '14 at 18:09
  • $\begingroup$ And $1000001=101\cdot 9901$. $\endgroup$ – Dietrich Burde Aug 16 '14 at 18:09
  • $\begingroup$ Yes: $1,000,001 = 1,000,000 + 1$ so $999,999·1,000001 = 999,999,000,000 + 999,999$ wich "fit" preciselly into $999,999,999,999$ $\endgroup$ – Darth Geek Aug 16 '14 at 18:11

For starters, it's $999,999\times1,000,001$, so if you can factor each of those, you're done.

Obviously $999,999=3\times3\times111,111$, and that last is obviously divisible by $3$, getting $999,999=3\times3\times3\times37,037$. Then you've obviously got divisibility by $37$, so $999,999=3\times3\times3\times37\times1001$. Factoring $1001$ isn't hard since if you start checking small prime factors you see it's divisbly by $7$, so $1001=7\times143$, and $143=11\times13$.

Now deal with $1,000,001$. Since you're handed the fact that it's divisible by $101$, you've got $1,000,001=101\times 9901$. If I'm not mistaken, $9901$ is prime, but I don't know how to show that except by brute force: divide by every prime number $\le \sqrt{9901}\approx99.5$.


With $1000001=101\cdot 9901$ and $999999=3^3\cdot 7 \cdot 11 \cdot 13 \cdot 37$ we obtain all prime factors of $999999999999=999999\cdot 1000001$.


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