Discrete Mathematics and Probability Theory Fall 2009 Satish Rao, David Tse Note 2

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1 CS 70 Discrete Mathematics and Probability Theory Fall 2009 Satish Rao, David Tse Note 2 Proofs Intuitively, the concept of proof should already be familiar We all like to assert things, and few of us like to say things that turn out to be false A proof provides a means for guaranteeing such claims Proofs in mathematics and computer science require a precisely stated proposition to be proved But what exactly is a proof? How do you show that a proposition is true? Recall that there are certain propositions called axioms or postulates, that we accept without proof (we have to start somewhere) A formal proof is a sequence of statements, ending with the proposition being proved, with the property that each statement is either an axiom or its truth follows easily from the fact that the previous statements are true For example, in high school geometry you may have written two-column proofs where one column lists the statements and the other column lists the justifications for each statement The justifications invoke certain very simple rules of inference which we trust (such as if P is true and Q is true, then P Q is true) Every proof has these elements, though it does not have to be written in a tabular format And most importantly, the fact that each step follows from the previous step is so straightforward, it can be checked by a computer program A formal proof for all but the simplest propositions is too cumbersome to be useful In practice, mathematicians routinely skip steps to give proofs of reasonable length How do they decide which steps to include in the proof? The answer is sufficiently many steps to convince themselves and the reader that the details can easily be filled in if desired This of course depends upon the knowledge and skill of the audience So in practice proofs are socially negotiated During the first few weeks of the semester, the proofs we will write will be quite formal Once you get more comfortable with the notion of a proof, we will relax a bit We will start emphasizing the main ideas in our proofs and sketching some of the routine steps This will help increase clarity and understanding and reduce clutter A proof, for the purposes of this class, is essentially a convincing argument Convincing to whom? First, to you, the author, second, to your classmates, third, to your professor and your TA In this lecture you will see some examples of proofs The proofs chosen are particularly interesting and elegant, and some are of great historical importance But the purpose of this lecture is not to teach you about these particular proofs (and certainly not for you to attempt to memorize any of them!) Instead, you should see these as good illustrations of various basic proof techniques You will notice that sometimes when it is hard to even get started proving a certain proposition using one proof technique, it is easy using a different technique This will come in handy later in the course when you work on homework problems or try to prove a statement on your own If you find yourself completely stuck, rather than getting discouraged you might find that using a different proof technique opens doors that were previously closed We now begin with a few definitions pertaining to proofs A theorem, informally speaking, is a true proposition that is guaranteed by a proof If you believe that a statement is true but can t prove it, call it a conjecture, essentially an educated guess A concept useful for writing up complicated proofs is that of a lemma, which is a little theorem that you use in the proof of a bigger theorem A lemma is to proofs what a subroutine is to programming CS 70, Fall 2009, Note 2 1

2 An axiom is a statement we accept as true without proof There are many different types of proofs, as we shall see The basic structure of these different types of proofs is best expressed in terms of propositional logic Direct Proof Let us start with a very simple example Theorem: If x is an odd integer, then x + 1 is even Following the notation introduced in the previous Note, this statement is equivalent to ( x Z)(x is odd = x + 1 is even) (Here Z denotes the set of all integers) For each x, the proposition that we are trying to prove is of the form P(x) = Q(x) A direct proof of this starts by assuming P(x) for a generic value of x and eventually concludes Q(x) through a chain of implications: Direct Proof of P = Q Assume P Therefore Q Let us proceed with a direct proof of the simple example given above: Proof: Assume x is odd Then by definition, x = 2k + 1 for some k Z Adding one to both sides, we get x + 1 = 2k + 2 = 2(k + 1) Therefore, by definition, x + 1 is an even number Before turning to our next example, we recall that integer d divides n (denoted d n) iff there exists some integer q such that n = dq For the following, let n be a postive integer less than 1000 Theorem: If the sum of the digits of n is divisible by 9, then n is divisible by 9 Note: The theorem is true for arbitary n We re just doing the three digit case here to keep the notation from getting distracting As in the previous example, this statement is equivalent to ( n Z + )(sum of n s digits divisible by 9 = n divisible by 9) (Here Z + denotes the set of positive integers, {1,2,}) So once again we start by assuming, for a generic value of n, that the sum of n s digits is divisible by 9 Then we perform a sequence of steps to conclude that n itself is divisible by 9 Here is the proof Proof: Suppose we have n such that the sum of the digits of n is divisible by 9 Let a be the hundred s digit of n, b the ten s digit, and c the one s digit Then n = 100a + 10b + c Now suppose that the sum of the digits of n is divisible by 9 Then, a + b + c = 9k,k Z CS 70, Fall 2009, Note 2 2

3 Adding 99a + 9b to both sides of the equation, we get So n is divisible by 9 100a + 10b + c = n = 9k + 99a + 9b = 9(k + 11a + b) In this case the converse of the theorem is also true: If n is divisible by 9, the sum of its digits is divisible by 9, too In other words, the sum of the digits of n is divisible by 9 if and only if 1 n is divisible by 9 In general, to prove P Q, you have to do two proofs: You must show that P = Q and then, separately, you must also show that Q = P Theorem: n is divisible by 9 if and only if the sum of the digits of n is divisible by 9 Proof: We already proved above that if the sum of the digits of n is divisible by 9 then n is divisible by 9 So we only need to prove the converse We use the same notation for the digits of n as we used in the previous proof: n is divisible by 9 = n = 9l,l Z = 100a + 10b + c = 9l = 99a + 9b + (a + b + c) = 9l = a + b + c = 9l 99a 9b = a + b + c = 9(l 11a b) = a + b + c = 9k, k = l 11a b Z = a + b + c is divisible by 9 Note that, in this simple example, the proof of Q = P is essentially the same as the proof of Q = P run backwards In such a case, you may be able to get away with proving both of the implications at the same time (using the symbol at every step of the proof) However, be very careful if you do this: for the proof to be legitimate, the steps have to make just as much sense backwards as forwards! (Go back and read the last proof again, starting with the last line and ending with the first, and convince yourself that it also works backwards) To avoid potential pitfalls, it is recommended that you always prove a statement of the form P Q using two separate proofs This will in any case be necessary in more interesting examples, where the proofs of P = Q and of Q = P might look very different Proof by Contraposition In the last lecture, we learned that a statement of the form P = Q is logically equivalent to its contrapositive: Q = P This means that proving an implication is equivalent to proving the contrapositive A proof by contraposition of P = Q is just a direct proof of its contrapositive Q = P: Proof by Contraposition of P = Q Assume Q Therefore P So Q = P P = Q 1 The phrase if and only if is often abbreviated to iff CS 70, Fall 2009, Note 2 3

4 Sometimes proving the contrapositive of a statement is easier than proving the statement directly Here is an illustrative example Let n be an integer and let d divide n Theorem: If n is odd then d is odd Proving this directly would be difficult We would assume n is odd but what then? Proving the contrapositive of the statement, however, is very straightforward The contrapositive is: If d is even then n is even Proof: Suppose d is even, then (by definition) d = 2k for some k Z Because d n, n = dl, for some l Z Combining these two statements, we have n = dl = (2k)l = 2(kl) So n is even So if d is even then n is even Therefore if n is odd then d is odd Proof by contraposition is a very common technique When proving implications (P = Q) the contrapositive gives us a second option for how to approach the problem As a warning, do not confuse the contrapositive with the converse! To give some intuition using English, consider the statement If it is sunny, then it is daytime The contrapositive is If it is nighttime, then it is not sunny, and the converse is If it is daytime, then it is sunny We know the original statement is true, and its contrapositive is also true However the converse is simply false (for example, a summer afternoon in San Francisco!) Proof by Contradiction Proof by contradiction is also called reductio ad absurdum (reduction to an absurdity) The idea is to assume the opposite of what one is trying to prove and then show that this leads to something that is clearly nonsensical: a contradiction Proof by Contradiction of P Assume P R R Contradiction Therefore P Before proceeding to an example, let us try to understand the logic behind a proof by contradiction We assume P, and then prove both R and R But for any proposition R, R R False So we have shown that P = False The only way this implication can be true is if P is false ie, P is true Our first example of a proof by contradiction dates back more than 2000 years to Euclid (Note that it is not of the form P = Q so contraposition is not an option) Theorem: There are infinitely many prime numbers Proving this directly would be difficult How do we construct infinitely many prime numbers? But, as we will see, bad things happen when we assume that this statement is false: that there are only finitely many primes Before we prove the theorem, we will state a simple lemma that we ll use without proof We will CS 70, Fall 2009, Note 2 4

5 prove it next week when we learn about induction Lemma: Every natural number greater than one is either prime or has a prime divisor (greater than one) Now for the proof of the theorem Proof: Suppose (in order to get a contradiction) that there are only finitely many primes Then, we can enumerate them: p 1, p 2, p 3,, p k (Here k is the total number of primes) Consider the number q = p 1 p 2 p 3 p k + 1, the product of all the primes plus one Note that q cannot be prime because it is strictly larger than all the primes Thus, by the lemma, it has a prime divisor, p (This will be our statement R, or, more precisely R is the assertion that p > 1) Because p 1, p 2, p 3,, p k are all the primes, p must be equal to one of them, so p is a divisor of their product So we have that p divides p 1 p 2 p 3 p k, and p divides q, but that means p divides their difference, which is 1 Therefore, p 1 (this is R) Contradiction Therefore there are infinitely many primes Note that in the proof, q need not be prime, tempting as it might be to say so It s certainly not the case that a product of primes plus one must always be prime (think of ) When writing a proof, it is important to carefully think through each step, ensuring that it s logically justified The most important part of learning mathematics is learning a habit of thinking clearly and precisely Let s look at another classic proof by contradiction A rational number is a number that can be expressed as the ratio of two integers For example, 2 3, 3 5, and 9 16 are all rational numbers In fact, any number with a finite or recurring decimal representation is a rational [Exercise: Can you prove this?] Numbers that cannot be expressed as fractions are called irrational Theorem: 2 is irrational Proof: Assume (for the sake of contradiction) that 2 is rational By the definition of rational numbers, there are integers a and b with no common factor other than 1, such that 2 = a/b (This will be our assertion R) For any numbers x and y, we know that x = y = x 2 = y 2 Hence 2 = a 2 /b 2 Multiplying both sides by b 2, we have a 2 = 2b 2 b is an integer, hence b 2 is an integer, hence a 2 is even (by the definition of evenness) Hence, a is even (by the lemma below) Therefore, by the definition of evenness, there is an integer c such that a = 2c Hence 2b 2 = 4c 2, hence b 2 = 2c 2 Since c is an integer, c 2 is an integer, hence b 2 is even Thus, b is even (by the lemma below) Thus a and b have a common factor 2, contradicting the assertion that a and b have no common factor other than 1 This shows that the original assumption that 2 is rational is false, and hence that 2 must be irrational Lemma: If a 2 is even, then a is even Can you prove this lemma? First try a direct proof? How would you proceed? Now try a proof by contraposition CS 70, Fall 2009, Note 2 5

6 Proof by Cases Sometimes we don t know which of a set of possible cases is true, but we know that at least one of the cases is true If we can prove our result in each of the cases, then we have a proof The English phrase damned if you do and damned if you don t sums up this proof method Here s a nice example: Theorem: For some irrational numbers x and y, x y is rational Proof: This is our first example in this Note of a theorem that is existentially quantified ( for some ) In other words, the statement may be written as ( x)( y)(x is irrational y is irrational x y is rational) Thus to prove the theorem we only need to prove the existence of at least one example of values x,y that satisfy the claim (For this reason, proofs of existentially quantified statements are often but not always a little easier than proofs of universally quantified ones) Consider the case x = 2 and y = 2 Clearly, either (a) 2 2 is rational; or (b) 2 2 is irrational In case (a), we have shown irrational numbers x and y such that x y is rational, so we are done In case (b), consider the new values x = 2 2 and y = 2 We have x y = ( 2) 2 2 = by the axiom (x y ) z = x yz = 2 2 = 2 Hence we have again shown irrational numbers x and y such that x y is rational Since one of cases (a) and (b) must be true, and since in both cases we have exhibited irrational numbers x and y such that x y is rational, we can conclude that such numbers must always exist Notice that even after the proof, we still don t know which of the two cases is true, so we can t actually exhibit any irrational numbers satisfying the theorem This is an example of a nonconstructive proof: one in which an existential theorem is proved without constructing an explicit example Non-proof Failure to logically structure a proof or note the justification for each step can lead easily to non-proofs Consider the following examples Theorem: (not!) 2 = 2 Proof: Assume 2 = 2 Squaring both sides, we get ( 2) 2 = 2 2, or 4 = 4 which is true Therefore, 2 = 2 The theorem is obviously false, so what did we do wrong? Our arithmetic is correct, and it seems like each step follows from the previous step The problem with this proof does not lie in the arithmetic, but rather the logic We assumed the very theorem we were trying to prove was true! As you can see, logical soundness and structure are extremely important when proving propositions CS 70, Fall 2009, Note 2 6

7 The next proof is incorrect for a different reason Theorem: (not!) 1 = 1 Proof: 1 = 1 = ( 1)( 1) = 1 1 = 1 2 = 1 This proof appears to be logically sound, so the error lies elsewhere Since we have concluded a falsehood, at least one of these steps must be false Indeed, it is simply untrue that xy = x y If you think carefully through each step of your proofs, you can avoid such missteps Other classic errors: Dividing both sides of an equation by a variable For example: ax = bx hence a = b The axiom to which this step implicitly appeals is false, because if x = 0, the claim a = b is not necessarily true So in this case, either x = 0 or a = b (consider writing the above as x(a b) = 0) Some extra work may be needed to prove x 0 Dividing both sides of an inequality by a variable This is even worse! For example: ax < bx hence a < b Here the claim a < b is false if x < 0, and unproven if x = 0 More generally, forgetting about 0 Forgetting to account for the possibility of variables being zero causes lots of headaches (including the above) Style and substance in proofs We conclude with some general words of advice First, get in the habit of thinking carefully before you write down the next sentence of your proof If you cannot explain clearly why the step is justified, you are making a leap and you need to go back and think some more In theory, each step in a proof must be justified by appealing to a definition or general axiom In practice the depth to which one must do this is a matter of taste For example, we could break down the step, Since a is an integer, (2a 2 + 2a) is an integer, into several more steps [Exercise: what are they?] A justification can be stated without proof only if you are absolutely confident that (1) it is correct and (2) the reader will automatically agree that it is correct Notice that in the proof that 2 is irrational, we used the result, For any integer n, if n 2 is even then n is even, twice This suggests that it may be a useful fact in many proofs A subsidiary result that is useful in a more complex proof is called a It is often a good idea to break down a long proof into several lemmas This is similar to the way in which large programming tasks should be divided up into smaller subroutines Furthermore, make each lemma (like each subroutine) as general as possible so it can be reused elsewhere The dividing line between lemmas and theorems is not clear-cut Usually, when writing a paper, the theorems are those propositions that you want to export from the paper to the rest of the world, whereas the lemmas are propositions used locally in the proofs of your theorems There are, however, some lemmas (for example, the Pumping Lemma and the Lifting Lemma) that are perhaps more famous and important than the theorems they were used to prove Finally, you should remember that the point of this lecture was not the specific statements we proved, but the different proof strategies, and their logical structure Make sure you understand them clearly; you will be using them when you write your own proofs in homework and exams CS 70, Fall 2009, Note 2 7

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