Problem #1387

1387.

Let $a_1,a_2,\ldots$ be a sequence determined by the rule $a_n=a_{n-1}/2$ if $a_{n-1}$ is even and $a_n=3a_{n-1}+1$ if $a_{n-1}$ is odd. For how many positive integers $a_1 \le 2008$ is it true that $a_1$ is less than each of $a_2$, $a_3$, and $a_4$?

$\mathrm{(A)}\ 250\qquad\mathrm{(B)}\ 251\qquad\mathrm{(C)}\ 501\qquad\mathrm{(D)}\ 502\qquad\mathrm{(E)} 1004$

This problem is copyrighted by the American Mathematics Competitions.

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Instructions for entering answers:

  • Reduce fractions to lowest terms and enter in the form 7/9.
  • Numbers involving pi should be written as 7pi or 7pi/3 as appropriate.
  • Square roots should be written as sqrt(3), 5sqrt(5), sqrt(3)/2, or 7sqrt(2)/3 as appropriate.
  • Exponents should be entered in the form 10^10.
  • If the problem is multiple choice, enter the appropriate (capital) letter.
  • Enter points with parentheses, like so: (4,5)
  • Complex numbers should be entered in rectangular form unless otherwise specified, like so: 3+4i. If there is no real component, enter only the imaginary component (i.e. 2i, NOT 0+2i).

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