Intel Pentium P5 floating point unit error (1994) — an RMO problem !!!


Two number theorists, bored in a chemistry lab, played a game with a large flask containing 2 litres of a colourful chemical solution and an ultra-accurate pipette. The game was that they would take turns to recall a prime number p such that p+2 is also a prime number. Then, the first number theorist would pipette out 1/p litres of chemical and the second \frac{1}{(p+2)} litres. How many times do they have to play this game to empty the flask completely?


A bit of real analysis is required.


I will publish the reference when I post the solution. So that all students/readers can curb their impulse to see the solution immediately!!!

I hope you will be hooked to the problem in a second….!!! Here is a beautiful utility of pure math! 🙂


Nalin Pithwa

PS: I do not know if the above problem did (or, will?? )appear as RMO question. It is just my wild fun with math to kindle the intellect of students in analysis !! 🙂

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