# Examples of Generating Functions - Worked Example B: Fibonacci Numbers

Worked Example B: Fibonacci Numbers

Consider the problem of finding a closed formula for the Fibonacci numbers Fn defined by F0 = 0, F1 = 1, and Fn = Fn−1 + Fn−2 for n ≥ 2. We form the ordinary generating function $f = sum_{n ge 0} F_n x^n$

for this sequence. The generating function for the sequence (Fn−1) is xf and that of (Fn−2) is x2f. From the recurrence relation, we therefore see that the power series xf + x2f agrees with f except for the first two coefficients: $begin{array}{rcrcrcrcrcrcr} f & = & F_0x^0 & + & F_1x^1 & + & F_2x^2 & + & cdots & + & F_ix^i & + &cdots\ xf & = & & & F_0x^1 & + & F_1x^2 & + & cdots & + &F_{i-1}x^i & + &cdots\ x^2f & = & & & & & F_0x^2 & + & cdots & + &F_{i-2}x^i & +&cdots\ (x+x^2)f & = & & & F_0x^1 & + & (F_0+F_1)x^2 & + & cdots & + & (F_{i-1}+F_{i-2})x^i & +&cdots\ & = & & & & & F_2x^2 & + & cdots & + & F_ix^i & +& cdots\ end{array}$

Taking these into account, we find that $f = xf + x^2 f + x . ,!$

(This is the crucial step; recurrence relations can almost always be translated into equations for the generating functions.) Solving this equation for f, we get $f = frac{x} {1 - x - x^2} .$

The denominator can be factored using the golden ratio φ1 = (1 + √5)/2 and φ2 = (1 − √5)/2, and the technique of partial fraction decomposition yields $f = frac{1}{sqrt{5}} left (frac{1}{1-varphi_1 x} - frac{1} {1- varphi_2 x} right ) .$

These two formal power series are known explicitly because they are geometric series; comparing coefficients, we find the explicit formula $F_n = frac{1} {sqrt{5}} (varphi_1^n - varphi_2^n).$