Archive for prime number

Le Monde puzzle [#1124]

Posted in Books, Kids, R with tags , , , , , on December 29, 2019 by xi'an

A prime number challenge [or rather two!] as Le weekly Monde current mathematical puzzle:

When considering the first two integers, 1 and 2, their sum is 3, a prime number. For the first four integers, 1,2,3,4, it is again possible to sum them pairwise to obtain two prime numbers, eg 3 and 7. Up to which limit is this operation feasible? And how many primes below 30,000 can write as n^p+p^n?

The run of a brute force R simulation like


provides a solution for the first question until n=14 when it stops. A direct explanation is that the number of prime numbers grows too slowly for all sums to be prime. And the second question gets solved by direct enumeration using again the is_prime R function from the primes package:

[1] 1 1
[1] 1 2
[1] 1 4
[1] 2 3
[1] 3 4

Le Monde puzzle [#1022 & #1023]

Posted in Books, Kids with tags , , , , , on September 29, 2017 by xi'an

Another Le Monde mathematical puzzle where I could not find a solution by R programming (albeit one by cissors and papers was readily available!):

An NT is a T whose head () is made of 3 50×50 squares and whose body (|) is made of N 50×50 squares.  What is the smallest possible side of a square containing four non-intersecting NT’s when N=1,2,4? And what is the smallest value of N such that this square also contains a fifth NT?

The questions could have been solved by brute force simulation (or a knapsack algorithm?!) but I could not fathom an efficient way to code throwing T’s at random over an MxM grid.So instead I took scissors and paper and tried to fit four 1T, 2T, and 4T into the smallest squares, ending up with 4×4, 5×5, and 7×7 squares. Interestingly, four 5T also fit in a 7×7 square. And a 9×9 square accommodates the extra 7T. Compared with the  “impossible” puzzle of last week, this is pretty anticlimactic..! (Actually, once the solutions were published, I realised the square containing the T’s did not have to be with integer side. Which means the smallest square for 3Ts was incorporating the glued T’s sideway. Fortunately, this did not impact the answer for the 7T’s!)

Going back to this “impossible” puzzle, the posted solution is somewhat… puzzling in that the resolution posits that the majority rule is the optimal allocation, when I am not sure it is [optimal]. Just because, when rerunning the same R code, I found instances when the minimal acceptable number of councillors was lower than the one returned by the majority rule.

And since this post get pushed down in the queue, here is as a bonus the equally anticlimactic puzzle #1023,

Find (a) a multiplication of two three-prime-digit numbers such that all digits everywhere in the long multiplication are prime and all three intermediary products have four prime digits, while the final result has six prime digits, and (b) a multiplication of two three-digit numbers such that the digits of the first one are odd (o), the digits of the second are even (e), the three intermediary products are all of the form eoe, and the final product is of the form eoeo. [The website has two pictures to help if this description is too unclear!]

This is indeed straightforward to code with one solution to (a) and two to (b) since the number of cases to examine is quite limited.

Le Monde puzzle [#967]

Posted in Books, Kids, pictures, Statistics, Travel, University life with tags , , , , , , , on September 30, 2016 by xi'an

A Sudoku-like Le Monde mathematical puzzle for a come-back (now that it competes with The Riddler!):

Does there exist a 3×3 grid with different and positive integer entries such that the sum of rows, columns, and both diagonals is a prime number? If there exist such grids, find the grid with the minimal sum?

I first downloaded the R package primes. Then I checked if by any chance a small bound on the entries was sufficient:


Running the blind experiment

for (t in 1:1e6){
  if (cale(matrix(sample(n,9),3))) print(n)}

I got 10 as the minimal value of n. Trying with n=9 did not give any positive case. Running another blind experiment checking for the minimal sum led to the result

> A
 [,1] [,2] [,3]
[1,] 8 3 6
[2,] 1 5 7
[3,] 2 11 4

with sum 47.

Le Monde puzzle [#913]

Posted in Books, Kids, Statistics, University life with tags , , , , , , , on June 12, 2015 by xi'an

An arithmetics Le Monde mathematical puzzle:

Find all bi-twin integers, namely positive integers such that adding 2 to any of their dividers returns a prime number.

An easy puzzle, once the R libraries on prime number decomposition can be found!, since it is straightforward to check for solutions. Unfortunately, I could not install the recent numbers package. So I used instead the schoolmath R package. Despite its possible bugs. But it seems to do the job for this problem:

for (t in 1:1e4) 
  if (prod(is.prim(prime.factor(t)+2)==1)) 

which returned all solutions, albeit in a lengthy fashion:

> lem
 [1] 1 3 5 9 11 15 17 25 27 29 33 41 45 51 55
 [16] 59 71 75 81 85 87 99 101 107 121 123 125 135 137 145
 [31] 149 153 165 177 179 187 191 197 205 213 225 227 239 243 255
 [46] 261 269 275 281 289 295 297 303 311 319 321 347 355 363 369
 [61] 375 405 411 419 425 431 435 447 451 459 461 493 495 505 521
 [76] 531 535 537 561 569 573 591 599 605 615 617 625 639 641 649
 [91] 659 675 681 685 697 717 725 729 745 765 781 783 807 809 821
[106] 825 827 841 843 857 867 881 885 891 895 909 933 935 955 957
[121] 963 985 1003 1019 1025 1031 ...

Le Monde puzzle [#29]

Posted in R, Statistics with tags , , on July 29, 2011 by xi'an

This week, the puzzle from the weekend edition of Le Monde was easy to state: in the sequence (8+17n), is there a 6th power? a 7th? an 8th? If so, give the first occurrence. So I first wrote an R code for a function testing whether an integer is any power:

while (t<x) t=j*t
if (!ispo){
while (t<x) t=j*t

(The function returns the highest possible power.) Then I ran the thing over the first million of values of the sequence:

for (j in 1:10^6){
if (tes$is)

only to find that only the powers 2,3,6,10,11,19 were present among the first terms. Continue reading

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