Saturday, February 5

Reality check

By this morning, Charles Greathouse and Donovan Johnson had calculated, respectively, the sixth and seventh terms of the sequence that I mentioned in my last entry: A185584. At that point, my own effort had only reached 2 billion. Ordinarily, I might have let things run — or started a new search beginning with the larger value — but I thought better of it.

A number of folk thought it was a good idea to prepend zero to the sequence — which, in my mind, lacked logic — and I objected*. Nevertheless, it was added to the submitted sequence — but later dropped, after I pointed out that the closely related A064510 lacked the zero.

*The crux of my objection was that the primary sense of the word "sum" is an aggregate of two or more things. Aggregating one thing is already a stretch but I'll buy it. Aggregating no things? { } != {0} but (apparently) Apply[Plus, { }] == 0.

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