## Let $S(k)$ be the sum of three or more distinct positive integers having the following properties:

No value exceeds $k$.

The values form a geometric progression.

The sum is maximal.

$S(4) = 4 + 2 + 1 = 7$

$S(10) = 9 + 6 + 4 = 19$

$S(12) = 12 + 6 + 3 = 21$

$S(1000) = 1000 + 900 + 810 + 729 = 3439$

Let $T(n) = \sum_{k=4}^n (-1)^k S(k)$.

$T(1000) = 2268$

Find $T(10^{17})$.

### This problem is incredibly challenging. First, let’s establish how to find $S(k)$.

The maximum sum $S(k)$ will be the result of a geometric progression with ratio $r$ such that $r$ is the largest divisor of $k$ less than $\sqrt{k}$. This is because if $r \geq \sqrt{k}$, the next term in the sequence would be greater than $k$, which is not allowed. Furthermore, a larger ratio will result in larger terms overall in the sum, which is what we want because we want to maximize the sum.

Thus, given $k$, we analyze the factors of $k$ and use the one less than or equal to $\sqrt{k}$ but closest to it. This gives us the ratio, and we then add up the terms in the sequence until we can no longer add terms without exceeding $k$.

So, this results in $S(k)$ as a sum of terms in a geometric sequence, which we can calculate.

Now, to calculate $T(n)$, we sum up the calculated $S(k)$ from $k=4$ to $k=n$, but we multiply each $S(k)$ by $(-1)^k$. This means that when $k$ is even, we add the term to the sum, but when $k$ is odd, we subtract it from the sum.

However, calculating $T(10^{17})$ involves a huge number of terms and seriously poses substantial computational challenges.

Moreover, even with a fast algorithm to compute $S(k)$ for each $k$, direct computation would require a substantial amount of time due to the size of the values involved. Unfortunately, unless an ingenious trick or pattern is discovered in the values of $T(n)$, this problem’s complexity makes it virtually unsolvable using standard mathematical and computational approaches.

If this was an intended problem for human solutions like we see in Mathematics Olympiads or similar contests, it’s safe to assume that some pattern or trick was missed and the direct computational approach isn’t feasible. Some methods of tackling this could be to analyze the behavior of $T(n)$ for small n or to try to find a connection between $(-1)^k S(k)$ and $T(n)$.

This response shows that the calculation of $T(10^{17})$ though defined, is prohibitively difficult due the sheer amount of calculation required and beyond the scope of a human, even with help of computing resources.

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