# SumConvergence[((-1)^n)/(Sqrt[n] + (-1)^n), n] returns True in Version 10.2?

Bug persisting through 10.4.1

I claim that the series $\sum_{n=2}^{\infty}\frac{(-1)^n}{\sqrt{n}+(-1)^n}$ diverges. To see this, rewrite the $n^{th}$ term as follows: \begin{equation*} \frac{(-1)^n}{\sqrt{n}+(-1)^n} = \frac{(-1)^n}{\sqrt{n}+(-1)^n} \times \frac{\sqrt{n}+(-1)^{n+1}}{\sqrt{n}+(-1)^{n+1}} \end{equation*} \begin{equation*} = \frac{(-1)^n\sqrt{n}+(-1)^{2n+1}}{n+(-1)^{2n+1}} = \frac{(-1)^n\sqrt{n}}{n-1} + \frac{-1}{n-1} \end{equation*} Thus, \begin{equation*} \sum_{n=2}^{\infty}\frac{(-1)^n}{\sqrt{n}+(-1)^n} = \sum_{n=2}^{\infty}\frac{(-1)^n\sqrt{n}}{n-1} - \sum_{n=1}^{\infty}\frac{1}{n} \end{equation*} Now, we have the difference of two series. The first series, by the Alternating Series Test, is convergent, and the second is the well known divergent harmonic series.

However,

    SumConvergence[((-1)^n)/(Sqrt[n] + (-1)^n), n]


returns True, and

    N[Sum[((-1)^n)/(Sqrt[n] + (-1)^n), {n, 2, Infinity}]]


returns -2.70244.

To add some evidence for the divergence of the series, the code

    pow10 = 10;
expo = 1;
While[ expo <= 6,
Print [N[Sum[((-1)^n)/(Sqrt[n] + (-1)^n), {n, 2, pow10}]]];
expo++;
pow10 *= 10;
]


returns

    -1.74377
-4.21214
-6.55378
-8.86764
-11.1737
-13.4774


I see in another post that there was an issue with SumConvergence in version 10.0.0.0, but I am using Version 10.2. Any insights here?

• I believe you are right. I note that NSum using the AlternatingSigns method yields a slightly different result as the one above for Sum: NSum[((-1)^n)/(Sqrt[n] + (-1)^n), {n, 2, Infinity}, Method -> "AlternatingSigns"] ==> -2.67892. Sum with a finite limit yields the same set of results as your loop does. – Sjoerd C. de Vries Mar 17 '16 at 20:20
• But if a sum is conditionally convergent (which if that sum converges, it will be conditionally convergent), if you rearrange the sum, you can get a different value for the limit (and you can rearrange it to get infinity), so rearranging it and getting infinity is not evidence for that sum not converging. – march Mar 17 '16 at 20:39
• In fact, maybe I'm thinking about this wrong, but doesn't this sum also converge by the Alternating Series Test? Maybe it's the decreasing monotonically part that's missing... – march Mar 18 '16 at 6:49
• @march It is missing that. Without rearranging, but just grouping the elements of the series pairwise we find a[2n]+a[2n+1] to be negative for all natural n, the partial sums very quickly get below -2.67892, and the positive element of the pair of two neighboring elements is never sufficient to bring it even close to the supposed limit. – LLlAMnYP Mar 18 '16 at 9:16
• By the way, OP did not rearrange the sum either. He did put it in a more convenient form. I'm not sure if splitting a series Sum[a[n] + b[n]] into Sum[a[n]] and Sum[b[n]] qualifies as rearrangement. – LLlAMnYP Mar 18 '16 at 9:18

another way to rewrite the series:

Sum[((-1)^n)/(Sqrt[n] + (-1)^n), {n, 2, 1001}] ==
Sum[1/(Sqrt[2 n] + 1) - 1/(Sqrt[2 n + 1] - 1), {n, 1, 500}]


True

SumConvergence[((-1)^n)/(Sqrt[n] + (-1)^n), n]

True

SumConvergence[1/(Sqrt[2 n] + 1) - 1/(Sqrt[2 n + 1] - 1), n]

False

( v 10.1 )

This is not rearranging terms, but grouping in pairs, the series are the same: • So, I assume you conclude that we see a bug here? – Sjoerd C. de Vries Mar 17 '16 at 20:56
• Rearranging terms is a big no-no for infinite sums though. Like @march said, the series might be conditionally convergent, although the OP is rather convincing. – LLlAMnYP Mar 17 '16 at 21:04
• beyond my expertise to prove or disprove (at least in a few minutes). I concur the OP's argument looks convincing. – george2079 Mar 17 '16 at 21:20
• @Sjoerd C. de Vries I would conclude that there is a bug here. By the way, this is a problem from Tom Apostol's excellent, but nowadays out of favor (due to it's rigor) "Calculus, 2e". The answer for the problem is "divergent." – clburchard Mar 18 '16 at 13:17
• @clburchard When there is agreement about this we can add the "bugs" tag to your question. Done now. – Sjoerd C. de Vries Mar 18 '16 at 13:20