A Short Approach to Catalan Numbers Modulo $2^r$

  • Guoce Xin
  • Jing-Feng Xu


We notice that two combinatorial interpretations of the well-known Catalan numbers $C_n=(2n)!/n!(n+1)!$ naturally give rise to a recursion for $C_n$. This recursion is ideal for the study of the congruences of $C_n$ modulo $2^r$, which attracted a lot of interest recently. We present short proofs of some known results, and improve Liu and Yeh's recent classification of $C_n$ modulo $2^r$. The equivalence $C_{n}\equiv_{2^r} C_{\bar n}$ is further reduced to $C_{n}\equiv_{2^r} C_{\tilde{n}}$ for simpler $\tilde{n}$. Moreover, by using connections between weighted Dyck paths and Motzkin paths, we find new classes of combinatorial sequences whose $2$-adic order is equal to that of $C_n$, which is one less than the sum of the digits of the binary expansion of $n+1$.

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