# Section 4.2: The Division Algorithm and Greatest Common Divisors

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1 Section 4.2: The Division Algorithm and Greatest Common Divisors The Division Algorithm The Division Algorithm is merely long division restated as an equation. For example, the division 29 r can be rewritten in equation form as 948 = 32(29) More generally, if m (the dividend) and d (the divisor) are positive integers then division of m by d yields quotient q and remainder r as follows: ( ) Furthermore, we know that 0 r < d. We can express ( ) in equation form as: d q m rem r m = dq + r where 0 r < d. Theorem 1 (The Division Algorithm for Integers): Let m be any integer and let d be a positive integer. Then there exist unique integers q and r such that 0 r < d and m = dq + r. Comment: Note that in the Division Algorithm, m, the dividend, is an arbitrary integer. From long division, we are familiar only with the case where m d. The other cases are easily handled as follows. Case 1: Assume 0 m < d. Then set q = 0 and r = m; that is, m = d(0) + m. Case 2: Assume the dividend is m, where m is positive. Since m is positive, we can use long division to find integers q and r such that m = dq + r. Then m = d( q) r = d( q 1) + (d r). Since 0 r < d, it follows that 0 d r < d. Exercise 1: In each of (a) (d) you are given values for m and d. In each case find (using the notation of the Division Algorithm) the quotient q and the remainder r. (a) m = 6, d = 10 (b) m = 6, d = 10 (c) m = 15153, d = 83 (d) m = 15153, d = 83 87

2 Greatest Common Divisors Definition 1: Let a and b be integers. A positive integer d is called the greatest common divisor of a and b, written d = gcd(a, b), provided: (a) d divides a and d divides b; and (b) if c is an integer such that c divides a and c divides b, then c divides d. Comment: In words, the definition states that d = gcd(a, b) provided d is a common divisor of a and b and d is divisible by all other common divisors of a and b. Example 1: The common divisors of 18 and 30 are ±1, ±2, ±3, and ±6. Clearly, 6 = gcd(18, 30) and note that all other common divisors of 18 and 30 divide 6. Uniqueness of the GCD Lemma 1: Let d 1 and d 2 be positive integers such that d 1 divides d 2 and d 2 divides d 1. Then d 1 = d 2. Proof: Let d 1 and d 2 be positive integers such that d 1 divides d 2 and d 2 divides d 1. Then there exist positive integers q 1 and q 2 such that d 1 = q 1 d 2 and d 2 = q 2 d 1. Thus, d 1 = q 1 d 2 = q 1 (q 2 d 1 ) = (q 1 q 2 )d 1. Since d 1 = (q 1 q 2 )d 1, it follows that 1 = q 1 q 2. Recall that q 1 and q 2 are both positive, so it follows that q 1 = q 2 = 1. (The only other possibility, q 1 = q 2 = 1, is eliminated.) Thus, d 1 = q 1 d 2 = d 2. Theorem 2: Let a and b be integers. If gcd(a, b) exists, it is unique. Proof: Let a and b be integers and assume that gcd(a, b) exists. Suppose that d 1 = gcd(a, b) and suppose also that d 2 = gcd(a, b). Let s first view d 1 as gcd(a, b). Since d 2 is, by (a) of Definition 1, a common divisor of a and b, it follows from (b) of Definition 1 that d 2 divides d 1. Similarly, viewing d 2 as gcd(a, b), we see that d 1 divides d 2. It now follows from Lemma 1 that d 1 = d 2, so gcd(a, b) is unique when it exists. 88

3 Existence of the GCD Special Cases: Let a and b be integers. gcd(0, 0) does not exist. If a 0 then gcd(a, 0) = a. If a divides b then gcd(a, b) = a. If a 0 and b 0 then gcd(a, b) = gcd( a, b ). Thus, in the algorithm given as the proof of Theorem 3 below, we may always assume that a and b are positive integers. The next Lemma gives an essential reduction step for calculating gcd(a, b). Lemma 2: Let a, b, q, and r be integers such that a = qb + r. (cf. The Division Algorithm) Then gcd(a, b) = gcd(b, r). Proof: The proof of Lemma 2 is Exercise Theorem 3: If a and b are integers, not both zero, then gcd(a, b) exists. Proof: The special cases were considered above. We give here an algorithm for finding gcd(a, b) when a b > 0. Apply the Division Algorithm, with b as the divisor, to obtain a = q 1 b + r 1 where 0 r 1 < b. If r 1 0, apply the Division Algorithm to b and r 1, with r 1 as the divisor, to obtain b = q 2 r 1 + r 2 where 0 r 2 < r 1. If r 2 0, apply the Division Algorithm to r 1 and r 2, with r 2 as the divisor, to obtain r 1 = q 3 r 2 + r 3 where 0 r 2 < r 1. Since the remainders r 1, r 2, r 3, etc. form a sequence of positive integers with r 1 > r 2 > r 3 0. It follows that there is an integer k such that r k 0 but r k+1 = 0. Following is the algorithm for calculating gcd(a, b): 89

4 Algorithm 1: Finding the GCD: Then r k = gcd(a, b). a = q 1 b + r 1 where 0 r 1 < b b = q 2 r 1 + r 2 where 0 r 2 < r 1 r 1 = q 3 r 2 + r 3 where 0 r 2 < r 1. r k 3 = q k 1 r k 2 + r k 1 where 0 r k 1 < r k 2 r k 2 = q k r k 1 + r k where 0 r k < r k 1 r k 1 = q k+1 r k To see that r k = gcd(a, b), repeatedly apply Lemma 2 to get gcd(a, b) = gcd(b, r 1 ) = gcd(r 1, r 2 ) = = gcd(r k 1, r k ). But, by the last equation in Algorithm 1, r k divides r k 1. Thus, r k = gcd(r k 1, r k ) = gcd(a, b). Example 2: Find gcd(216, 80). Solution: Repeated use of long division gives: or, in equation form: r r r r = (2) = (1) = (2) = (3)8. Therefore, 8 = gcd(216, 80). Exercise 2: In each of (a) (d), find gcd(a, b). (a) a = 44, b = 0 (b) a = 22, b = 660 (c) a = 715, b = 208 (d) a = 715, b = 208 Further Theorems Theorem 4: Let a and b be integers and suppose d = gcd(a, b). Then there exist integers m and n such that d = ma + nb. Comment: Note that 6 = gcd(18, 30) and we may write 6 = (2)18 + ( 1)30 = ( 3)18 + (2)30 = (7)18 + ( 4)30, so, in the notation of Theorem 4, m and n are not unique. 90

5 The following algorithm for finding one choice for m and n is a continuation of Algorithm 1 for find gcd(a, b). Algorithm 2: Writing gcd(a, b) = ma + nb Beginning with the second to last equation of Algorithm 1 and working up, we solve each equation for the remainder. This gives: Recall that r k = gcd(a, b). r k = r k 2 q k r k 1 r k 1 = r k 3 q k 1 r k 2. r 3 = r 1 q 3 r 2 r 2 = b q 2 r 1 r 1 = a q 1 b In the equation for r k, substitute for r k 1, using the second equation. This gives r k = r k 2 q k r k 1 = r k 2 q k (r k 3 q k 1 r k 2 ) = (1 + q k 1 )r k 2 + ( q k )r k 3. In the resulting equation, we next substitute for r k 2 and simplify. Then substitute for r k 3 and simplify. Continuing, we eventually substitute for r 1 and simplify. This will yield r k = ma + nb. Example 3: We have seen in Example 2 that 8 = gcd(216, 80). Find integers m and n such that 8 = 216m + 80n. Solution: In the solution to Example 3 we obtained several equations representing the repeated applications of the Division Algorithm. In reverse order, we solve each those equations for the remainder. This gives: 8 = 56 (2)24 24 = 80 (1)56 56 = 216 (2)80. Now in 8 = 56 (2)24 substitute 24 = 80 (1)56 to obtain 8 = 56 2 ( 80 (1)56 ) = ( 2)80 + (3)56. Next, substitute 56 = 216 (2)80 to obtain: 8 = ( 2)80 + (3)56 = ( 2) ( 216 (2)80 ) = (3)216 (8)80. Thus, 8 = (3)216 (8)80. 91

6 Exercise 3: Find d = gcd(4977, 405) and find integers m and n such that d = 4977m + 405n. Theorem 5: Let a, and b be integers, where a and b are not both zero. Then gcd(a, b) exists so let d = gcd(a, b). For an integer c there exist integers m and n such that c = ma + nb if and only if c is a multiple of d. Proof: Note that this is an equivalence, so two proofs are required. First, let c be an integer and assume that there exist integers m and n such that c = ma + nb. Let d = gcd(a, b). Then d divides both a and b, so there exist integers a 1 and b 1 such that a = a 1 d and b = b 1 d. Thus, c = ma + nb = ma 1 d + nb 1 d = (ma 1 + nb 1 )d. Consequently, c = qd, where q = ma 1 + nb 1, and so d divides c. In the opposite direction, set d = gcd(a, b), let c be an integer, and assume that d divides c. Then there exists an integer k such that c = kd. By Theorem 4, there exist integers m 1 and n 1 such that d = m 1 a + n 1 b. Therefore, c = kd = k(m 1 a + n 1 b) = km 1 a + kn 1 b. Thus, c = ma + nb, where m = km 1 and n = kn 1. Exercise 4: Suppose 11 = ma + nb, where a, b, m, and n are integers. List all possible choices for d = gcd(a, b). 92

7 Section 4.2. EXERCISES In each of (a) (e) you are given integers m and n, where n is positive. In each case, find integers q and r such that m = qn + r and 0 r < n. (a) m = 2, n = 5 (b) m = 2, n = 5 (c) m = 30, n = 6 (d) m = 4129, n = 232 (e) m = 4129, n = In each of (a) (c) below you are given integers a and b. In each case use the Division Algorithm to find gcd(a, b) and to find integers m and n such that gcd(a, b) = ma + nb (a) a = 899, b = 29 (b) a = 224, b = 98 (c) a = 963, b = Let a, b, q, and r be integers such that a = bq + r. Prove that gcd(a, b) =gcd(b, r) Let a, b, c, and d be integers such that a divides bc and d = gcd(a, b). Prove that a divides cd Let a and b be integers and let d = gcd(a, b). If k is a positive integer, prove that kd = gcd(ka, kb). 93

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