A geometric sequence, also known as a geometric progression, is a finite sequence of at least three numbers, or an infinite sequence, whose terms differ by a constant multiple, known as the common ratio (or common quotient), r. A geometric sequence is uniquely determined by its initial term and the ratio r.
For example, starting with 3 and using a common ratio of 2 leads to the finite geometric sequence: 3, 6, 12, 24, 48, and also to the infinite sequence 3, 6, 12, 24, 48, ..., (3 × 2n) ...
In general, the terms of a geometric sequence have the form an = ar n (n = 0, 1, 2, ...) for fixed numbers a and r.
In a geometric sequence, every term is the geometric mean of its neighboring terms: an = √(an-1 × an+1). The geometric mean of any two different positive numbers is always less than their arithmetic mean.
The following cases of geometric sequences can be distinguished:
Sequences with r > 1 and with -1 > r are divergent sequences. Sequences with r = -1 are oscillatory. Sequences with -1 < r ≤ +1 are convergent.
If the terms of a geometric sequence are added together the result is a geometric series. If it is a finite series, then the terms are added to get the series sum, Sn = a + ar + ar 2 + ... + ar n = (a - ar n+1)/(1 - r). In the case of an infinite series, if |r| < 1, the sum is a/(1 - r). If |r| > or = 1, however, the series diverges and thus has no sum.
Related entries arithmetic sequence
Related category SERIES AND SEQUENCES
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