## Introduction to Discrete Mathematics

Discrete mathematics is a branch of mathematics that deals with objects that can only take on distinct, separate values. It is a fundamental area of study for computer science and plays a crucial role in various fields such as cryptography, algorithms, and data structures.

## Mathematical Induction

Mathematical induction is a powerful proof technique used in discrete mathematics to establish the truth of a statement for all natural numbers. It consists of two steps: the base case and the inductive step.

## The Base Case

The base case is the initial step of the induction process. It involves proving that the statement holds true for the smallest possible value of the variable. Typically, this involves showing that the statement is true for n = 0 or n = 1.

## The Inductive Step

The inductive step is the recursive part of the induction process. It involves proving that if the statement holds true for a particular value of the variable, it also holds true for the next value. In other words, if the statement is true for n = k, we need to show that it is also true for n = k + 1.

## Example 1: Sum of Natural Numbers

Let’s use mathematical induction to prove that the sum of the first n natural numbers is given by the formula:

S(n) = 1 + 2 + 3 + … + n = n(n+1)/2

**Base Case:**

For n = 1, the sum of the first natural number is 1. Plugging n = 1 into the formula, we get:

S(1) = 1(1+1)/2 = 1

So, the formula holds true for the base case.

**Inductive Step:**

Assume that the formula holds true for some value of n = k. That is:

S(k) = 1 + 2 + 3 + … + k = k(k+1)/2

We need to prove that the formula also holds true for n = k + 1. That is:

S(k+1) = 1 + 2 + 3 + … + k + (k+1) = (k+1)(k+2)/2

To prove this, we start with the left-hand side of the equation:

S(k+1) = S(k) + (k+1)

Substituting the assumed formula for S(k), we get:

S(k+1) = k(k+1)/2 + (k+1)

Factoring out (k+1), we have:

S(k+1) = (k+1)(k/2 + 1)

Simplifying further, we get:

S(k+1) = (k+1)(k+2)/2

Therefore, the formula holds true for n = k + 1, assuming it holds true for n = k. By the principle of mathematical induction, the formula holds true for all natural numbers.

## Example 2: Fibonacci Sequence

Let’s use mathematical induction to prove that the nth term of the Fibonacci sequence is given by the formula:

F(n) = F(n-1) + F(n-2)

with initial conditions F(0) = 0 and F(1) = 1.

**Base Case:**

For n = 0, the formula gives us:

F(0) = F(0-1) + F(0-2) = F(-1) + F(-2)

Since F(-1) and F(-2) are not defined in the Fibonacci sequence, we need to use the initial conditions:

F(0) = 0

So, the formula holds true for the base case.

For n = 1, the formula gives us:

F(1) = F(1-1) + F(1-2) = F(0) + F(-1)

Again, we use the initial conditions:

F(1) = 1

So, the formula holds true for the base case.

**Inductive Step:**

Assume that the formula holds true for some value of n = k and n = k-1. That is:

F(k) = F(k-1) + F(k-2)

F(k-1) = F(k-2) + F(k-3)

We need to prove that the formula also holds true for n = k + 1. That is:

F(k+1) = F(k) + F(k-1)

To prove this, we start with the left-hand side of the equation:

F(k+1) = F(k) + F(k-1)

Substituting the assumed formulas for F(k) and F(k-1), we get:

F(k+1) = (F(k-1) + F(k-2)) + F(k-1)

Simplifying further, we have:

F(k+1) = F(k-1) + F(k-2) + F(k-1)

F(k+1) = F(k-1) + 2F(k-1)

F(k+1) = 3F(k-1)

Therefore, the formula holds true for n = k + 1, assuming it holds true for n = k and n = k-1. By the principle of mathematical induction, the formula holds true for all natural numbers.

## Conclusion

Mathematical induction is a powerful tool in discrete mathematics for proving statements that hold true for all natural numbers. By establishing the base case and proving the inductive step, we can confidently conclude the validity of the statement. Through examples like the sum of natural numbers and the Fibonacci sequence, we can see the application of mathematical induction in solving various mathematical problems.