kalisditz (2001-03-29) [problem from Prof. Doug Brumbaugh, UCF]

「求四件東西各自的價錢，這四件東西相乘等於7.11，相加也等於7.11。」

What are the exact costs of the 4 items?

7.11 = 3.16 + 1.25 + 1.50 + 1.20 = 3.16 x 1.25 x 1.50 x 1.20

1) a+b+c+d = 711
2) abcd = 711000000 = 26 x32x56 x79.

1. a=79, b+c+d=632, bcd=9000000
2. a=158, b+c+d=553, bcd=4500000
3. a=237, b+c+d=474, bcd=3000000
4. a=316, b+c+d=395, bcd=2250000
5. a=395, b+c+d=316, bcd=1800000
6. a=474, b+c+d=237, bcd=1500000
7. a=632, b+c+d=79, bcd=1125000

Now, the product of 3 positive numbers of given sum is greatest when they are all equal, which means that the product bcd cannot exceed (b+c+d)3/27. This rules out the last three of the above 7 cases.

In the first three cases, on the other hand, the sum b+c+d isn't a multiple of 5, so at least one of b,c,d (say d) isn't either. Therefore, the product bc must be a multiple of the sixth power of 5. Since neither b nor c can be large enough to be a multiple of the fourth power [625 is clearly too big a share of 711, leaving only 7 cents for two items in the first case and nothing at all in the other two] we must conclude that both b and c are nonzrero multiples of 125. The number d would thus be obtained by subtracting from one of three possible sums (632, 553, 474) some multiple of 125 (necessarily: 250, 375 or [in the first two cases] 500). This gives only 8 possible values for d (382, 257, 132, 303, 178, 53, 224, 99). Each is unacceptable because it has a prime factor other than 2 or 3.

Therefore, only the fourth case is not ruled out, so that a=\$3.16.
a=316, b+c+d=395, bcd=2250000.

Since the sum b+c+d is a multiple of 5, and at least one of the terms is a multiple of 5, either only one is, or all are. The former option is ruled out since this would imply for the single multiple of 5 to be a multiple of 56=15625, which would, by itself, be much larger than the entire sum of 395. So, b, c, and d are all multiples of 5, and we may let b=5b', c=5c', d=5d', where b'+c'+d'=79 and b'c'd'=18000.

Now, these three new variables may not be all divisible by 5 (otherwise their sum would be too). It's not possible either to have a single one of them divisible by 5, because it would then have to be a multiple of 53=125 and exceed the whole sum of 79. Therefore, we must have a multiple of 25 (say b'=25b") and a multiple of 5 (say c'=5c"): 25b"+5c"+d'=79 and b"c"d'=144. It is then clear that b" can only be 1 or 2. If b" was 2, then we would have 5c"+d'=29 and c"d'=72, implying that c" is a solution of x(29-5x)=72 or 5x2-29x+72=0. However, this quadratic equation does not have any real solutions, because its discriminant is negative. Therefore, b" is equal to 1 and b=5(25b")=125=\$1.25.

The whole thing thus boils down to solving 5c"+d'=54 and c"d'=144, which means that c" is solution of x(54-5x)=144 or 5x2-54x+144=0. Of the two solutions of this quadratic equation (x=6 and x=4.8), we may only keep the one which is an integer. Therefore c"=6, c'=30, c=150=\$1.50.

Finally, d'=144/c=24 which means d=5d'=120=\$1.20.

Therefore, the solution is unique (the order of the 4 items being irrelevant):

\$3.16, \$1.25, \$1.50, \$1.20.