Saturday, October 13

13094

Start with 13094. This is p.
From left to right, determine the absolute differences between p's adjacent digits:

1-3 = 2
3-0 = 3
0-9 = 9
9-4 = 5
4-1 = 3     (the last digit of p minus the first one)

Collecting the resulting digits, we get q = 23953.

If q > p, compute p + q. If q < p, compute p - q. Either way, this is our new p.
Repeat:

0     13094 + 23953
1     37047 + 47434
2     84481 - 40477
3     44004 -  4040
4     39964 + 60321
5    100285 ...

The procedure was created by Eric Angelini, who presented it to MathFun on October 9. I chose 13094 to illustrate the method because this is a number for which I do not have an eventual outcome. Lesser starting numbers end up in small loops, although it may take a while (for example 199, 10853, 10886) to get there. In my graph of ten million iterations of 13094's evolution, the upward climb is relentless.

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