Understand the problem

Let $a,b,c,d$ be positive real numbers such that $abcd=1$.Find with proof that $x=3 $ is the minimal value for which the following inequality holds:
\[a^x+b^x+c^x+d^x\ge\dfrac{1}{a}+\dfrac{1}{b}+\dfrac{1}{c}+\dfrac{1}{d}\]

Source of the problem

Albania IMO TST 2013

Topic
Inequalities
Difficulty Level
Medium
Suggested Book
Inequalities by BJ Venkatachala

Start with hints

Do you really need a hint? Try it first!

Choose specific values of a,b,c,d to show that no value of x less than 3 works.
Choosing a=b=c=t, the inequality becomes 3t^x+\frac{1}{t^{3x}}\ge \frac{3}{t}+t^3. Note that, as t\to\infty, the LHS grows as O(t^x) and the RHS grows as O(t^3). For the LHS to be always greater than the RHS, it should be of a higher order. Hence, $x\ge 3$. Now show that the inequality is true for x=3.
Note that the RHS can be rewritten as abc+bcd+cda+bda. This reminds us of the AM-GM inequality.
Indeed, abc+bcd+cda+bda\le \frac{a^3+b^3+c^3}{3}+\frac{d^3+b^3+c^3}{3}+\frac{a^3+d^3+c^3}{3}+\frac{a^3+b^3+d^3}{3}=a^3+b^3+c^3+d^3.

Watch video

Connected Program at Cheenta

Math Olympiad Program

Math Olympiad is the greatest and most challenging academic contest for school students. Brilliant school students from over 100 countries participate in it every year. Cheenta works with small groups of gifted students through an intense training program. It is a deeply personalized journey toward intellectual prowess and technical sophistication.

Similar Problems

Tetrahedron Problem | AIME I, 1992 | Question 6

Try this beautiful problem from the American Invitational Mathematics Examination I, AIME I, 1992 based on Tetrahedron Problem.

Triangle and integers | AIME I, 1995 | Question 9

Try this beautiful problem from the American Invitational Mathematics Examination I, AIME I, 1995 based on Triangle and integers.

Functional Equation Problem from SMO, 2018 – Question 35

Try this problem from Singapore Mathematics Olympiad, SMO, 2018 based on Functional Equation. You may use sequential hints if required.

Sequence and greatest integer | AIME I, 2000 | Question 11

Try this beautiful problem from the American Invitational Mathematics Examination, AIME, 2000 based on Sequence and the greatest integer.

Arithmetic sequence | AMC 10A, 2015 | Problem 7

Try this beautiful problem from Algebra: Arithmetic sequence from AMC 10A, 2015, Problem. You may use sequential hints to solve the problem.

Series and sum | AIME I, 1999 | Question 11

Try this beautiful problem from the American Invitational Mathematics Examination I, AIME I, 1999 based on Series and sum.

Inscribed circle and perimeter | AIME I, 1999 | Question 12

Try this beautiful problem from the American Invitational Mathematics Examination I, AIME I, 2011 based on Rectangles and sides.

Problem based on Cylinder | AMC 10A, 2015 | Question 9

Try this beautiful problem from Mensuration: Problem based on Cylinder from AMC 10A, 2015. You may use sequential hints to solve the problem.

Median of numbers | AMC-10A, 2020 | Problem 11

Try this beautiful problem from Geometry based on Median of numbers from AMC 10A, 2020. You may use sequential hints to solve the problem.

LCM and Integers | AIME I, 1998 | Question 1

Try this beautiful problem from the American Invitational Mathematics Examination, AIME, 1998, Problem 1, based on LCM and Integers.