# A Direct Method To Generate Pythagorean Triples And Its Generalization To Pythagorean Quadruples And n-tuples

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1 A Direct Method To Generate Pythagorean Triples And Its Generalization To Pythagorean Quadruples And n-tuples Tanay Roy \$ Farjana Jaishmin Sonia Department of Physics Jadavpur University Kolkata , India \$ Abstract: The method of generating Pythagorean triples is known for about 2000 years Though the classical formulas produce all primitive triples they do not generate all possible triples, especially non-primitive triples This paper presents a direct method to generate all possible triples both primitive non-primitive for any given number Then the technique is generalized to produce Pythagorean Quadruples n-tuples Our method utilizes the fact that the difference between lengths of the hypotenuse one leg of a Pythagorean triangle can have only certain distinct values depending on the length of the other which remains true for higher tuples also I Introduction A Pythagorean triple is an ordered triple of positive integers such that (1) An effective way to generate Pythagorean triples is based on Euclid s formula found in his book Elements This formula states that for any two positive integers with form a Pythagorean triple Though this classical formula generates all primitive triples infinitely many of them, it is incapable of generating all the triples including non-primitive cases For example the triple cannot be generated from the formula rather introducing a multiplier to the triple does so Besides we observe that while Euclid s formula produces the triple, it doesn t produce ; a transposition is needed Also by a result of Berggren (1934) all primitive Pythagorean triples can be generated using a set of linear transformations but it requires the triple to start with So we theorise a direct method to generate all possible primitive non-primitive triples for a given number (one leg of a right angle triangle) Our strategy will be the observation that the difference between (or between ) can have only certain distinct values depending on the given number (or ) Let us consider So that equation (1) becomes (2) (3) 1

2 Equation (3) clearly shows that must be a factor of for integral values of This is the first constraint that prevents possessing any arbitrary value Further we note that b to have positive value (4) This is the second condition imparted on In sections II III we describe the case of Pythagorean triples extensively, in section IV we extend the theory for quadruples finally in section V we discuss the generalization to n-tuples Section VI provides a simple technique to generate tuples of arbitrary length starting from any single number II Generating Primitive Pythagorean Triple A Pythagorean triple is said to be primitive when are coprime to each other ie gcd In this section we discuss for a given value of what are the possible values of Before we proceed let us recall some basic properties of primitive triple We know is always odd only one of is odd, so if we choose as even will be even if we set as odd will also be odd Now numbers can be divided into three categories on the basis of their prime factorization (A) even numbers which are only powers of (B) odd numbers consisting of powers of any prime (C) even numbers containing both powers of other primes So we divide our discussion into three subsections: (A) Let, where are whole numbers Equation (4) dems that Now from equation (2) we get Since in this case is even must be odd Now the right h side of equation (5) will be odd only if Hence the triple will be Example: Let So Hence, Thus we get which is a primitive triple But if we choose, say we obtain Clearly the triple is non-primitive that can be obtained from primitive triple So, in this case the only possible value of is (5) 2

3 (B) Let, where is a prime factor of is the product of other prime factors can have any positive integral value Then where is also a whole number From equation (2), we get Now for the triple to be primitive must not have as a factor So, from this equation it is clear that either or provided Hence the triple will be for or for Here form ensures us that for each odd number there exists at least one primitive triple of the Example: Let us consider Then can have two values, or For,, Clearly forms a primitive triple Next for,, which again makes a primitive triple In this case we also observe that if we take, we should have but it is not possible because it violates condition (4) (C) Let, where is one prime factor of is the product of other prime factors can have any positive integral values Then, where are whole numbers From equation (2) we get (6) (i) When, the terms within the parentheses on right h side of equation (7) give odd number so that will be odd only if also must not be a factor of for the triple being primitive that requires or So, the primitive triple will be for for Example: Let us consider Then can have two values, For,, So the primitive triple is For,, This gives which is also primitive (7) (ii) When, equation(7) becomes (8) 3

4 Again the terms within the parentheses on right h side of equation (8) give odd number so that will be odd only if also should not have as a factor for the triple being primitive which requires or Example: Let us consider Then will have two values For,, So we get which is a primitive triple For,, This gives which is also primitive In this case if we choose instead of it would give which is not permissible since becomes greater than (iii) When, from equation(7) (9) If, will always be even which gives non-primitive solutions The only primitive triples are obtained when but this will lead to equation (6) which we discuss earlier Here one important fact to be noted is that when solution so that integers of the configuration triple, we never obtain a primitive will always give non-primitive Example: The numbers will always form non-primitive triple If we represent the given number as then will be of the form where with or, A general example: Let us consider Here We show the different cases in the following table Table 1: Primitive triples for etc

5 Here the last four values of are not possible because of the condition (4) So only four primitive triples can be generated for Thus following the previous rules all possible primitive triples for a given number can be generated III Generating Non-primitive Pythagorean Triple In the process of generating non-primitive Pythagorean triple the only constraint is So we first need to factorize the given number then will be any combination of those factors except the cases for primitive triples So it is obvious that if is even must be even if is odd will also be odd We illustrate the method by the following example Let Again we show various cases in the following table Table 2: Non-primitive triples for Here have not been taken because they generate primitive triples the other combinations of the factors have been discarded as they violate condition (4) Thus finding all the possible values of we can obtain all non-primitive triples 5

6 IV Pythagorean Quadruple A Pythagorean quadruple is an ordered quadruple of positive integers such that In this section we discuss how to generate all possible Pythagorean quadruples for a given set of Let Then equation (10) becomes (10) Three facts are clear from equation (11): (11) (i) if is even must be even if is odd must be odd for integral value of (ii) when is even it ought to be an integral multiple of (iii) for positive value of it is required that (12) We are mainly interested in the generation of primitive quadruples which we will discuss in three sections Case (A): is even is odd (or is even is odd) Here is an odd number, so is odd (i) We first consider that have common factors, then can be represented as will be of the form gives all being integers for all Equation (11) then So for primitive solution or, ; can take all integral values from to with the restriction given by equation (12) Then, with either or for all has those values discussed above Example: (1) Then So but is not possible as Thus we get, when when So the primitive quadruples for are (2) Let Then So Other combinations of are not possible due to equation (12) (13) 6

7 Table 3: Primitive Pythagorean quadruples for (ii) Now we consider that have no common factors so that, then where can take all integral values from to provided Example: Let Then Table 4: Primitive Pythagorean quadruples for Here we draw an important conclusion that whenever one of or is odd, there will be at least one primitive quadruple with Case (B): Both are even Here is an even number, so will be even This case will be same as discussed in case (A) except the introduction of some power of so that now Equation (11) then gives So, the conditions for obtaining primitive quadruples are same with an additional condition either or Then the values of are or, here or has any integral value from to, provided Again an important conclusion from this theory is that for any two given even numbers there always exists a primitive quadruple with Example: Let Then The following table shows all possible primitive cases (14) 7

8 Table 5: Primitive Pythagorean quadruples for, as their squares are greater than Case (C): Both are odd To study this case we represent as where, are positive integers Then Since is even must be even but then must contain a factor for being an integral multiple of But equation (15) clearly shows that is a multiple of only ie So no set of quadruples (primitive non-primitive) can be obtained if both the given numbers are odd To produce non-primitive quadruples, we first calculate factorise it Then can have any combination of those factors expect those for primitive cases with the condition Following examples will make it clear Example: (i) Let Then So the values of that give non-primitive quadruples will be (15) Table 6: Non-primitive Pythagorean quadruples for Here give primitive quadruples the rest combinations violate condition (12), so they are not taken 8

9 (ii) Let The Here the primitive cases are Table 7: Non-primitive Pythagorean quadruples for Here (12) So these are not taken give primitive sets the rest do not obey the condition In this way all Pythagorean Quadruples can be generated for any two given numbers V Pythagorean n-tuple A Pythagorean n-tuple is a set of n positive integers such that When numbers are given, we can calculate the rest two form an n-tuple ( This process is quite similar to the process or generating primitive quadruples with Now among given numbers some will be odd, say numbers the rest will be even (i) When, This does not lead to the formation of n-tuple which is similar to case (C) of quadruple (ii) When, is odd too, where with some powers are common factors of the given ( ) integers Then, or can be any integer from to satisfying Example: Let,,,,,, (16) 9

10 Table 8: Primitive Pythagorean n-tuples (n=10) for 8 given numbers So the primitive n-tuples (n=10) for those 8 numbers are (iii) When (greater than 2) or ie all the given numbers are even, then is also even it will have the form,, where or some powers of them are common factors of the given numbers are other primes Then, or, or can take any integral value from to provided Example: Let,,,,, Now So for primitive solutions Table 9: Primitive Pythagorean n-tuples (n=9) for 7 given numbers So the primitive n-tuples ( ) for the given numbers 10

11 We can generate the non-primitive n-tuples also in a manner similar to the case of quadruple discussed previously VI Generating Pythagorean n-tuple starting from a single number Having the discussion of generating different Pythagorean tuples elaborately here we give a simple method to generate tuples of arbitrary length starting from a given number using the theory of Pythagorean triple If the number is given, we can calculate the triple ( ) ie Then starting from, ( ) can be obtained So the equation extends to, a quadruple Proceeding in the same way we can elongate the chain after iterations we obtain the n-tuple: Now it is to be noted that for a given number ( ) we can have several triples, so each of them will form a different branch each branch will have a sub-branch so on A branch will be primitive only if gcd of any three numbers is 1 In this way we can obtain several n-tuples from a given number but this method is incapable of generating all possible cases since the method totally depends on the process of generating triples Example: Here we show three branches with VII Conclusion The major advantage of our method is that it does not require any primitive set to start with finding proper multipliers or transformations to obtain the desired tuple An interesting fact is that just by factorizing we can forecast how many primitive non-primitive cases are possible before actually calculating them which cannot be done by classical formulas We are also able to produce tuples of any length starting from a given number in a very simple way References Books: [1] Jagadguru Swami Sri Bharati Krisna Thirthaji Maharaja (1981) Vedic Mathematics Indological Publishers Booksellers [2] Gareth A Jones J Mary Jones (2005) Elementary Number Theory Springer Internet Resources:

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