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Lizzie came up with a divisibility test for a certain number :

Break a positive integer  into two-digit chunks, starting from the ones place. (For example, the number  would break into the two-digit chunks )

Find the alternating sum of these two-digit numbers, by adding the first number, subtracting the second, adding the third, and so on. (In our example, this alternating sum would be )

Find  and show that this is indeed a divisibility test for  (by showing that  is divisible by  if and only if the result of this process is divisible by ).

 May 14, 2024
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Let m=37. We can show that n is divisible by 37 if and only if the result of this process is divisible by 37 as follows:

 

If n is divisible by 37, then the alternating sum of the two-digit chunks is divisible by 37.

 

This is because the alternating sum of the two-digit chunks is just the sum of the digits of n, modulo 37. Since n is divisible by 37, the sum of its digits is also divisible by 37, so the alternating sum of the two-digit chunks is also divisible by 37.

 

If the alternating sum of the two-digit chunks is divisible by 37, then n is divisible by 37.

 

This is because the sum of the digits of n is congruent to the alternating sum of the two-digit chunks, modulo 37.

 

Therefore, if the alternating sum of the two-digit chunks is divisible by 37, then the sum of the digits of n is also divisible by 37, so n is divisible by 37.

 

Therefore, the alternating sum of the two-digit chunks is a divisibility test for 37.

 

To see this in action, let's consider the number 354764. The alternating sum of the two-digit chunks of 354764 is 64−47+35=52. Since 52 is divisible by 37, we know that 354764 is also divisible by 37.

 May 14, 2024

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