Author Archives: Brent

About Brent

Assistant Professor of Computer Science at Hendrix College. Functional programmer, mathematician, teacher, pianist, follower of Jesus.

Finding the prefix length of a decimal expansion

Remember from my previous post that we’re trying to find the prefix length and repetend length of the decimal expansion of a fraction , that is, the length of the part before it starts repeating, and the length of the … Continue reading

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Finding prefix and repetend length

We interrupt your regularly scheduled primality testing to bring you something else fun I’ve been thinking about. It’s well-known that any rational number has a decimal expansion that either terminates, or is eventually periodic—that is, the digits after the decimal … Continue reading

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More on Fermat witnesses and liars

In my previous post I stated, without proof, the following theorem: Theorem: if is composite and there exists at least one Fermat witness for , then at least half of the numbers relatively prime to are Fermat witnesses. Were you … Continue reading

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Fermat witnesses and liars (some words on PWW #24)

Let be a positive integer we want to test for primality, and suppose is some other positive integer with . There are then four possibilities: and could share a common factor. In this case we can find the common factor … Continue reading

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Post without words #24

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The Fermat primality test and the GCD test

In my previous post we proved that if shares a nontrivial common factor with , then , and this in turn proves that is not prime (by Fermat’s Little Theorem). But wait a minute, this is silly: if shares a … Continue reading

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Making the Fermat primality test deterministic

Let’s recall Fermat’s Little Theorem: If is prime and is an integer where , then . Recall that we can turn this directly into a test for primality, called the Fermat primality test, as follows: given some number that we … Continue reading

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