Anyone reading this is surely familiar with the Fibonacci numbers, that very famous sequence defined by the recurrence:

with:

And though it’s not typical, for our purposes here it will be convenient to redefine the sequence so that:

Using this later definition, which is simply a shift by one place, it can be shown for *n>0* that the *nth *Fibonacci number corresponds to the number of bit strings of length *n* that do not contain the sub-string *“11”*. Thus the number of bits strings of length *n* that do contain the sub-string *“11” is:*

We can also define a Fibonacci-like sequence with three terms as follows:

with:

And in general this notion can be extended to a k-term, or rather k-step, sequence where:

See Wolfram Math World’s great explanation for more about this, although they obviously do not shift the sequences as we have done here. Notice however, that when shifted, the k-step Fibonacci sequences presented at Math World begin with the sub-sequence:

To generalize our bit string example from before, it can be observed that the *nth* term of the k-step Fibonacci sequence corresponds to the number of bit strings of length *n* that do not contain a sub-string of length *k *that is composed of all ones.

The Fibonacci numbers can be further generalized by introducing a scaling factor *m*, where we define:

where the initial elements of the sequence *fib*_{k,m} are:

And thus:

corresponds to the regular old Fibonacci numbers.

It turns out that the *nth *term of *fib*_{k,m} corresponds to the number of strings of length *n *using an alphabet of size *m* that do not have a sub-string of *k* consecutive ones, assuming of course that the character “1” is part of the alphabet. Conversely, the number of strings that do contain such a sub-string is equal to:

For example see OEIS sequence A028859 and A119826, which correspond to *fib*_{2,3} and* fib*_{3,3} respectively*.*

Another interesting bit about all of this concerns the the limit of *fib*_{k,m}(n+1)/fib_{k,m}(n) as n goes to infinity. Here again *fib*_{2,2} has a special place as:

where φ is the Golden Ratio, one of the more interesting irrational numbers. It is also a root of the polynomial:

More generally:

is a root of the polynomial:

Here is some Python code for playing with all of this.

#!/usr/bin/python
import re
import itertools
def i2bs(i, l, m):
"""
Convert an incoming number into a 'bitstring' representation
of length 'l' using an alphabet of size 'm'. This behavior of
this function is undefined if m>10.
"""
i = int(i)
out = ""
while i:
out = str(i%m) + out
i /= m
delta = l - len(out)
if delta > 0:
out = ("0" * delta) + out
return out
def fib(n, k=2, m=2):
"""
Generate the nth k-step, m-scale fibonacci number.
n specifies which index in the sequence to generate. (length of the over all string)
k specifies how many terms the recurrence has (length of the subsequence we are searching)
m is the factor that each term of the reccurrence is multiplied by plus 1 (size of alphabet)
The output is the nth number in the sequence, which is also equal to the number of
times the subsequence "1"*k appears in the permutations of length n over the alphabet.
"""
f = [pow(m,i) for i in range(k)]
if n < len(f):
return f[n]
i=k
while i < n:
f[i%k]=sum(f)*(m-1)
i+=1
return sum(f)*(m-1)
def matchbits(k,m):
"""
This function allows us to play with the proposition that fib(n,k,m) is the number
of substrings "1"*k in the permutations of length n over an alphabet of size m.
k is the size of substring to match
m is the size of the alphabet
"""
print("***",k,m)
ss=k*"1"
for n in range(k,10):
matches=0
total=pow(m,n)
for i in range(total):
x = i2bs(i,n,m)
if re.search(ss,x):
matches += 1
f =fib(n,k,m)
print(("Subsequence=%s, Actual Matches=%d, Predicted Matches=%d, Okay=%s") %
(ss, matches, total-f, ((total-f)== matches)))
def poly(k,m,x):
"""
Evaluate the polynomial f(x) = x^k - (m-1)*x^(k-1) - ... - (m-1)
"""
return x**k + sum([-(m-1)*x**i for i in range(k)])
def checkroots(n, coefficients):
"""
Allows us to play with the polynomials of which fib(n+1, k, m)/fib(n, k, m) is a root.
"""
for (k,m) in itertools.product(coefficients, coefficients):
fn = fib(n,k,m)
fn1 = fib(n+1,k,m)
x=float(fn1)/float(fn)
print("k=%d, m=%d, x=%f, f(x)=%f") % (k, m, x, poly(k,m, x))
def main():
print("Check Roots")
checkroots(100, [2,3,4,5])
print("\n")
print("Match Bits:")
matchbits(2,2)
#matchbits(3,2)
#matchbits(3,4)
#matchbits(5,4)
if __name__ == "__main__":
main();