Hypergeometric identity

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In mathematics, hypergeometric identities are equalities involving sums over hypergeometric terms, i.e. the coefficients occurring in hypergeometric series. These identities occur frequently in solutions to combinatorial problems, and also in the analysis of algorithms.

These identities were traditionally found 'by hand'. There exist now several algorithms which can find and prove all hypergeometric identities.



There are two definitions of hypergeometric terms, both used in different cases as explained below. See also hypergeometric series.

A term tk is a hypergeometric term if

is a rational function in k.

A term F(n,k) is a hypergeometric term if

is a rational function in k.

There exist two types of sums over hypergeometric terms, the definite and indefinite sums. A definite sum is of the form

The indefinite sum is of the form


Although in the past one[who?] has found proofs of certain identities[vague] there exist several algorithms[vague] to find and prove identities. These algorithms first find a simple expression for a sum over hypergeometric terms and then provide a certificate which anyone could use to easily check and prove the correctness of the identity.

For each of the hypergeometric sum types there exist one or more methods to find a simple expression. These methods also provide a certificate to easily check the proof of an identity:

  • Definite sums: Sister Celine's Method, Zeilberger's algorithm
  • Indefinite sums: Gosper's algorithm

A book named A = B has been written by Marko Petkovšek, Herbert Wilf and Doron Zeilberger describing the three main approaches described above.

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