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In addition to the revision notes for Infinite Series Explained on this page, you can also access the following Sequences and Series learning resources for Infinite Series Explained

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12.4 | Infinite Series Explained |

In these revision notes for Infinite Series Explained, we cover the following key points:

- What are finite and infinite series? How do you identify them?
- What are diverging and converging series?
- How do we find the sum of all terms in converging geometric series?
- What is the comparison test of convergence?
- What are some special types of infinite series?
- What is the ratio convergence test? When do we use it?
- What is the root convergence test? When do we use it?

An infinite series is a series that has an infinite number of terms in it. Such series never terminate, i.e. they have no final value. An infinite series is either written in a summation notation:

S = __∞____∑___{n = 1}x_{n}

or by three dots after the last known term to indicate the continuation to infinity, i.e.

S = x_{1} + x_{2} + x_{3} + ⋯ + x_{n} + ⋯

Some number series have a finite value that represents the despite having an infinite number of terms. They are called **converging infinite series**. For example, geometric series with a fractional common ratio smaller than 1 are infinite series, as the terms become smaller and smaller; the increase in sum becomes more and more irrelevant.

The condition for an infinite series to be convergent is that

where L is a finite number (sometimes, we call it a **limit value** or simply, **limit**).

The common ratio R of converging infinite geometric series must be smaller than 1 when these series are converging. Extending this reasoning to also include negative ratios that are greater than -1, we obtain the condition for a geometric series to be converging:

-1 < R < 1

The formula for calculation of the infinite geometric series with a common ratio between -1 and 1 is

S_{∞} = *x*_{1}*/**1 - R*

This is because in the formula of geometric series with |R| < 1

S_{n} = *x*_{1} ∙ (1 - R^{n})*/**1 - R*

R_{n} points towards zero when n points towards infinity.

The comparison test of convergence with two infinite series

says that if x_{n} ≤ yn for sufficiently large values of n, then

- If
y__∞____∑___{n = 1}_{n}converges, thenx__∞____∑___{n = 1}_{n}converges too, and - If
x__∞____∑___{n = 1}_{n}diverges, theny__∞____∑___{n = 1}_{n}diverges too.

The above rule is true not only for geometric series but for all infinite series.

There are some special types of infinite series, which have many important applications in practice. Some of them include

**The p-series**. This is a special type of series which has the formThis series is special because it is convergent for p > 1 and divergent for 0 < p ≤ 1.__∞____∑___{n - 1}*1**/**n*^{p}**Harmonic series**. They represent a special case of the p-series where p = 1, i.eThis series is divergent, as it is impossible to reach to a limit point, despite the decrease in the terms value with the increase of n.__∞____∑___{n - 1}=*1**/**n*^{p}__∞____∑___{n - 1}*1**/**n*^{1}=__∞____∑___{n - 1}*1**/**n***Euler Series**This too, is a special series, which has the following formEuler Series =We write the name of Euler Series (otherwise known as the Euler's Number) by e. It is worth to mention here that the counting of such a series elements start from 0, not from 1. In this way, we obtain__∞____∑___{n = 0}*1**/**n!*e =This is a converging series, as the non-constant ratio between two consecutive terms is always smaller than 1.__∞____∑___{n = 0}=*1**/**n!*+*1**/**0!*+*1**/**1!*! +*1**/**2*! +*1**/**3*! + ⋯*1**/**4*

**Ratio Convergence Test** consists of calculating the limit of the ratio between two consecutive terms when the number of terms points to infinity. Thus, if Σa_{n} is a series with positive terms, where a may be a variable, a monomial or an entire algebraic expression and supposing that

then, the Ratio Test of Convergence rule says:

- If L < 1, then Σa
_{n}is a convergent series; - If L > 1, then Σa
_{n}is a divergent series; and - If L = 1, then the convergence test of Σa
_{n}is inconclusive, i.e. we need to use other methods to study its convergence.

**Root Convergence Test** is particularly important in cases when the ratio test cannot provide an answer regarding the convergence of an infinite series. Thus, if Σa_{n} is an infinite series with non-negative terms and supposing that

where L is a finite number (it represents the limit of the series), then

- If L < 0, then Σa
_{n}is convergent; - If L > 0, then Σa
_{n}is divergent; - If L = 1, then the test is conclusive, i.e. it cannot give us an exact answer about the convergence of the given series Σa
_{n}.

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