# Using RSolve to solve a recurrence relation

I am attempting to solve this recurrence relation.

T[n] = n^(1.5) + T[n - 4]


which I believe simplifies to

n^(2.5)


I have tried solving is a couple different ways with no success.

RSolve[T[n - 4] + n^(1.5) == 1, T[n], n]


Error: RSolve: n cannot be used as a function

RSolve[{T[n] == T[n - 4] + n^(1.5), T = 1}, T[n], n]


Equation or list of equations expected instead of 1 in the first argument {n == n^(1.5) + T[-4 + n], 1}.

What am I doing incorrectly?

• Use == instead of = in T=1. This solves the problem, but the result looks much more complicated than your expected n^(2.5). Are you missing out on any assumptions ? May 26, 2017 at 2:56
• @Lotus That output is not like anything I was expecting. What sort of assumptions would you recommend? trying Assumptions -> n > 0 didn't work, it said there was an unknown option Assumptions in RSolve. May 26, 2017 at 3:52

First, test the solution suggested in the question by evaluating the first several terms of the recurrence.

T = 1
T[n_] := T[n - 4] + n^1.5
Table[T[n], {n, 1, 21, 4}]
(* {1, 12.1803, 39.1803, 86.0525, 156.145, 252.379} *)


and contrast this with the first several terms of the proposed solution.

Table[n^(2.5), {n, 1, 21, 4}]
(* {1., 55.9017, 243., 609.338, 1191.58, 2020.92} *)


They are not the same. Instead, the correct solution is obtained with RSolve by first substituting n == 4 m - 3 (valid, because T[n] is defined only for Mod[n, 4] == 1).

Clear[T]
Simplify[T[m] /. First@RSolve[{T[m] == T[m - 1] + (4 m - 3)^1.5, T == 1}, T[m], m]]
(* -0.120874 - 8. HurwitzZeta[-1.5, 0.25 + m] *)


the correctness of which can be verified by

Table[%, {m, 6}]
(* {1., 12.1803, 39.1803, 86.0525, 156.145, 252.379} *)


as desired.

• also, with exact coefficients, 1+8HurwitzZeta[-(3/2),5/4]-8HurwitzZeta[-(3/2),1/4+m] May 26, 2017 at 11:13