We have already used Maple to compute the sum of the first six terms in the series that models our block-stacking strategy. Now let's compute the sum of the first ten terms:

EXECUTE1/2 + 1/4 + 1/6 + 1/8 + 1/10 + 1/12 + 1/14 + 1/16 + 1/18 + 1/20;

Although this shows you the power of Maple's exact rational number arithmetic, this really isn't getting us any closer to a solution. Why can't we simply keep computing larger and larger sums as a means to finding the limit?

Click here for the answer

We can solve both of the problems that we just identified through the use of Maple's built-in functions. We'll first explore the idea of built-in functions, and then we'll be prepared to apply built-in functions to the problem at hand.

Joseph L. Zachary
Hamlet Project
Department of Computer Science
University of Utah