ON INTEGERS EXPRESSIBLE BY SOME SPECIAL LINEAR FORM

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1 Acta Math. Univ. Comenianae Vol. LXXXI, (01), pp ON INTEGERS EXPRESSIBLE BY SOME SPECIAL LINEAR FORM A. DUBICKAS and A. NOVIKAS Abstract. Let E(4) be the set of positive integers expressible by the form 4M d, where M is a multiple of the product ab and d is a divisor of the sum a + b of two positive integers a, b. We show that the set E(4) does not contain perfect squares and three exceptional positive integers 88, 336, 4545 and verify that E(4) contains all other positive integers up to We conjecture that there are no other exceptional integers. This would imply the Erdős-Straus conjecture asserting that each number of the form 4/n, where n is a positive integer, is the sum of three unit fractions 1/x+1/y +1/z. We also discuss similar problems for sets E(t), where t 3, consisting of positive integers expressible by the form tm d. The set E(5) is related to a conjecture of Sierpiński, whereas the set E(t), where t is any integer greater than or equal to 4, is related to the most general in this context conjecture of Schinzel. 1. Introduction Let t be a fixed positive integer. In this paper we consider the set of positive integers E(t) := {n : n = tm d}, where M is a positive multiple of the product and d is a positive divisor of the sum of two positive integers, namely, for some a, b N. Evidently, (1) It is easy to see that ab M and d (a + b) E(t ) E(t) whenever t t. E(1) = E() = N. Indeed, suppose first that t = 1. Then, for each n N selecting a = n + 1, b = 1, M = ab = n + 1 and d = (a + b)/ = n + 1, we find that n = n + 1 (n + 1) = M d, Received November 10, 011; revised June 1, Mathematics Subject Classification. Primary 11D68, 11D09, 11Y50. Key words and phrases. Egyptian fractions; Erdős-Straus conjecture; Sierpiński conjecture; Schinzel s conjecture.

2 04 A. DUBICKAS and A. NOVIKAS giving E(1) = N. In case t =, for each n N we may choose a = n + 1, b = 1, M = ab = n + 1 and d = a + b = n +. Then M d = (n + 1) (n + ) = n, so that E() = N. Apart form (1) the situation with t 3 is not clear. In this context, the sets E(4) and E(5) are of special interest because an integer n belongs to the set E(t) if and only if n = tm d = tuab (a + b)/v with some a, b, u, v N. Therefore, n E(t) yields the representation with positive integers t n = 1 x + 1 y + 1 z x := uab, y := uvna, z := uvnb. Thus if n E(t), then the fraction t/n is expressible by the sum of three unit fractions. In particular, if every prime number p belongs to the set E(4), then the Erdős-Straus conjecture (asserting that for each integer n, the fraction 4/n is expressible by the sum 1/x + 1/y + 1/z with x, y, z N) is true, whereas if every prime number p belongs to E(5), then the corresponding conjecture of Sierpiński (asserting that for each n 4, the fraction 5/n is expressible by the sum 1/x + 1/y + 1/z) is true [10]. In this context, the most general Schinzel s conjecture asserts that the fraction t/n for each n n(t) is expressible by the sum 1/x + 1/y + 1/z. This clearly holds for t 3, but is open for each fixed t 4. Conjecture 5 given in Section 3 implies that there is an integer C(t) such that each prime number p > C(t) belongs to E(t). This would imply Schinzel s conjecture as well. Yamamoto [1], [13] and Mordell [8] observed that it is sufficient to prove the Erdős-Straus conjecture for those prime numbers p which modulo 840 are 1, 11, 169, 89, 361 or 59. Vaughan [11] showed that the Erdős-Straus conjecture is true for almost all positive integers n. See also the list of references in D11 for the literature concerning the conjectures of Erdős-Straus, Sierpiński and Schinzel on Egyptian fractions. More references on the Erdős-Straus (including recent ones) can be found in a paper of Elsholtz and Tao [4] on the average number of solutions of the equation 4/p = 1/x+1/y+1/z with prime numbers p. At the computational side the calculations of Swett show that the Erdős-Straus conjecture holds for integers n up to In this note we observe that the following holds Theorem 1. The set E(4) does not contain perfect squares and the numbers 88, 336, () Suppose k E(4), i.e., there exist u, v, a, b, k N such that v(4uab k ) = a + b. To show that k / E(4), we shall use the following fact Lemma. The equation () has no solutions in positive integers u, v, a, b, k.

3 ON INTEGERS EXPRESSIBLE BY SOME SPECIAL LINEAR FORM 05 Lemma implies that d is a quadratic nonresidue modulo 4ab if d (a + b). Indeed, if the number d were a quadratic residue modulo 4ab, then by selecting the positive integer v := (a + b)/d, we would see that the equation k = d + 4uab with u N has a solution k N, which is impossible in view of Lemma. Note that the set of divisors of a + b, when a < b both run through the set {1,,..., n}, contains the set {1,,..., n 1}. Thus, by Lemma, it holds Corollary 3. For each positive integer n the n 1 consecutive integers are quadratic nonresidues modulo 4n!. 4n! n + 1, 4n! n +,..., 4n! 1 Corollary 3 gives the example of at least ( ε) log m/ log log m consecutive quadratic nonresidues modulo m = 4n! (by a completely elementary method). In this direction, the most interesting problem is to determine how many consecutive quadratic residues and consecutive quadratic nonresidues modulo m may occur for prime numbers m. See, e.g., [3], [5], where it is shown that we have at least c 1 log m log log log m consecutive quadratic residues modulo m for infinitely many primes m, and [7], where the factor log log log m is replaced by log log m under assumption of the generalized Riemann hypothesis. A set of positive integers which is a subset of q=0e(4q + 3) was recently considered in [1]. For M = ab and d = a + b, where a, b are positive integers and b 3 (mod 4), put E (t) := {n : n = tab a b}. Evidently, E (t) E(t). In [1] it was shown that the set E := q=0e (4q + 3) does not contain perfect squares and that all prime numbers of the form 4s + 1 less than belong to E.. Proof of Theorem 1 Lemma was apparently first proved by Yamamoto [13]. See also [9, Lemma ] and [4, Proposition 1.6]. Here is a short proof. Since a = vd b, equality () yields k = 4u(vd b)b d = (4buv 1)d 4b u. 4b So if () has a solution in positive integers, then the Jacobi symbol u = k must be equal to 1. Indeed, since 4b u and 4buv 1 are relatively 4b prime, we have u k 0, and so = 1. We will show, however, 4b that the Jacobi symbol u is equal to 1. Indeed, write u N in the form ( u = ) r, where r ( 0 is an ) integer and 1 is an odd integer. Using 1 = 1 and also = 1 in case u is even, i.e., r 1, we find that ( 4b ) ( u r+ b ) ( r ) = = =. 4buv 1 4buv 1 4buv 1 4buv 1

4 06 A. DUBICKAS and A. NOVIKAS Further, by the quadratic reciprocity law, in view of u we conclude that 4buv 1 1 = ( 1) (u0 1)/ = ( 1) (u0 1)/ = 1. 4buv 1 Lemma implies that k / E(4). To complete the proof of Theorem 1 we need to show that 88, 336, 4545 / E(4). The case n = 88 can be easily checked by hand. Observe that 88 = 4M d implies that d = 4s and M = (88 + 4s)/4 = 7 + s. Furthermore, from 7 + s = M ab a + b 1 d 1 = 4s 1 we find that 1 s 4. So for each s = 1,,..., 4, it remains to check that there are no positive integers a, b for which 4s (a + b) and ab (7 + s). Note first that for s 11 we must have a + b = 4s and ab = 7 + s. Indeed, if a + b > 4s, then a + b 8s and so 7 + s = M ab a + b 1 8s 1, which is impossible, because s 11. If ab < 7 + s, then ab 7 + s, so that 7 + s ab (a + b 1) (d 1) = (4s 1) = 8s, which is a contradiction again. However, from a+b = 4s and ab = 7+s it follows that (4s) 4(7 + s) = 4(4s s 7) is a perfect square. So 4s s 7 must be a perfect square. It remains to check the values of s between 11 and 4 which modulo 4 are 0 or 3, namely, s = 11, 1, 15, 16, 19, 0, 3, 4. For none of these values, 4s s 7 is a perfect square. The values of s between 1 and 10 can also be excluded, because there are no a, b with ab (7 + s) for which 4s divides a + b; see the Table 1 below. To complete the proof of the theorem, observe that if n = tm d, then n tab a b ta a in case a b. Hence (at 1) nt + 1 and b (a + n)/(ta 1). Therefore, all values from 1 to which do not belong to E(4) can be found with Maple as follows: for n from 1 to do s := true ; for a from 1 by 1 while (s and (at 1) tn + 1) do B := (a + n)/(ta 1) ; for b from a by 1 while ( s and b B ) do i f a + b (mod tab n (mod tab)) = 0 then s := f a l s e endif ; endfor ; endfor ; i f s then k := k + 1 ; p r i n t (n ) ; endif ; endfor ; p r i n t (k ) :

5 ON INTEGERS EXPRESSIBLE BY SOME SPECIAL LINEAR FORM 07 s s s Table 1 For every particular value of n from 1 to 10000, we check all the pairs (a, b) which satisfy the above inequalities for the existence of an appropriate value of d, i.e., for the divisibility of a + b by some positive integer of the form d = tuab n. However, d a + b tab which means that there is only one possible such integer d. Take a unique integer in the interval [1, tab] which equals n modulo tab. It can be expressed as tab n (mod tab), as in the pseudocode describing our algorithm above. To obtain a code for Maple, one only needs to change both endfor and endif to end. As a result (in less than three seconds), we got that only 100 perfect squares and three exceptional numbers 88, 336, 4545 less than do not lie in E(4). This completes the proof of Theorem 1. The calculation to the bound 10 6 with Maple took us almost 40 minutes, so all the calculations of the next section to the bound 10 9 have been performed with C Some speculations concerning the sets E(t) As we already observed in (1), the sets N \ E(1) and N \ E() are empty. By Lemma, the equation v(4uab k ) = a + b has no solutions in positive integers u, v, a, b, k. In particular, if t is a positive integer divisible by 4 and s N is such that 4s t, then the equation vs(4(t/4s)uab k ) = a+b has no solutions in positive integers u, v, a, b, k. The latter is equivalent to the equation v(tuab sk ) = a+b. Consequently, we obtain the following corollary Corollary 4. The set E(t), where 4 t, does not contain the numbers of the form sk, where s N satisfies 4s t and k N. In particular, this implies that the set N\E(t) is infinite when 4 t. We conjecture that all other sets, namely, N \ E(t) with t N which is not a multiple of 4 are finite. More precisely, we get next conjecture Conjecture 5. There exists an integer C(t) N {0} such that the set E(t) contains all integers greater than or equal to C(t) + 1 if 4 does not divide t and all integers greater than or equal to C(t) + 1 except for sk, where 4s t and k N, if 4 t. By (1), we have C(1) = C() = 0. It is known that the total number of representations of t/n by the sum 1/x + 1/y + 1/z does not exceed c(ε)(n/t) /3 n ε, where ε > 0 (see []). We know that if n E(t) then t/n is expressible by the sum of three unit fractions, so this bound also holds for the number of representations of n in the form tm d. On the other hand, by the above mentioned result of

6 08 A. DUBICKAS and A. NOVIKAS Vaughan [11], almost all positive integers are expressible by the sum of three unit fractions. It is easy to see that for each fixed t 3, almost all positive integers belong to the set E(t). In fact, one can easily show a much stronger statement that almost all positive integers can be written in the form pa 1 with some prime number p 1 (mod t) and some a N. If n N can be written in this way, then n = pa 1 = (p + 1)a a 1 = tm d E(t) with b = 1, d = a + 1 and M = (p + 1)a/t. By the above, it suffices to show that the density of positive integers n that have no prime divisors of the form p 1 (mod t) is zero. This can be easily done using a standard sieve argument. Let p 1 < p < p 3 <... denote consecutive primes in the arithmetic progression kt 1, k = 1,, 3,.... By Dirichlet s theorem, the sum j=1 1/p j diverges. Thus for each ε > 0, we can pick s N for which s j=1 (1 1/p j) < ε/. Further, for each N P := p 1 p... p s, select a unique k N for which kp N < (k + 1)P. The number of positive integers n N without prime divisors in the set {p 1,..., p s } does not exceed the number of such positive integers in the interval [1, (k + 1)P ]. The latter, by the inclusion-exclusion principle, is equal to (k + 1)P s (1 1 ) p j j=1 (k + 1)P ε (1 + 1/k)Nε Nε = Nε. This implies the claim. Coming back to Conjecture 5, by calculation with C++, in the range [1, 10 9 ] we found only three exceptional integers 6, 36, 3600 which do not belong to the set E(3). So we conjecture that For t = 4, we have E(3) = N \ {6, 36, 3600} and C(3) = , 336, 4545, N N \ E(4), and we conjecture that C(4) = There are much more integers which do not lie in E(5). In the range [1, 10 9 ] there are 48 such integers: 1,, 5, 6, 10, 1, 0, 1, 30, 3, 45, 46, 50, 60, 9, 10, 105, 16, 141, 18, 19, 10, 8, 30, 330, 366, 406, 600, 650, 76, 73, 84, 846, 90, 99, 100, 1446, 145, 1905, 190, 100, 50, 6, 396, 730, 9050, 1150, We conjecture that this list is full, i.e., C(5) = The list of integers in [1, 10 9 ] which do not lie in E(6) contains 108 numbers, the largest one being We are more cautious to claim that C(6) = since this number is quite large compared to the computation bound Here is a result of our calculations with C++ for 3 t 9. In Table for t = 4, all squares k are excluded, whereas for t = 8, all squares k and all numbers of the form k are excluded (see Corollary 4 and Conjecture 5). Acknowledgment. We thank the referee for some useful comments.

7 ON INTEGERS EXPRESSIBLE BY SOME SPECIAL LINEAR FORM 09 t computation bound number of exceptions largest exception Table References 1. Bello-Hernández M., Benito M. and Fernández E., On Egyptian fractions, preprint at arxiv: v1, Browning T. D. and Elsholtz C., The number of representations of rationals as a sum of unit fractions, Illinois J. Math. (to appear). 3. Buell D. A. and Hudson R. H., On runs of consecutive quadratic residues and quadratic nonresidues, BIT 4 (1984), Elsholtz C. and Tao T., Counting the number of solutions to the Erdős-Straus equation on unit fractions, preprint at arxiv: v3, Graham S. W. and Ringrose C. J., Lower bounds for least quadratic non-residues. In: Analytic number theory, Proc. Conf. in Honor of Paul T. Bateman, Urbana, IL, USA, 1989, Prog Math. 85, 1990, Guy R., Unsolved problems in number theory, 3rd. ed, Springer, New-York, Montgomery H. L., Topics in multiplicative number theory, Lecture Notes in Mathematics 7, Springer, New York Mordell L.J., Diophantine equations, Academic Press, London, New-York, Schinzel A., On sums of three unit fractions with polynomial denominators, Funct. Approx. Comment. Math. 8 (000), Sierpiński W., Sur les décompositions de nombres rationale en fractions primaires, Mathesis 65 (1956), Vaughan R. C., On a problem of Erdős, Straus andschinzel, Mathematika 65 (1970), Yamamoto K., On a conjecture of Erdős, Mem. Fac. Sci. Kyuchu Univ. Ser. A 18 (1964), Yamamoto K., On the Diophantine equation 4 n = 1 x + 1 y + 1, Mem. Fac. Sci.Kyuchu Univ. z Ser. A 19 (1965), A. Dubickas, Department of Mathematics and Informatics, Vilnius University, Naugarduko 4, Vilnius LT-035 Lithuania, A. Novikas, Department of Mathematics and Informatics, Vilnius University, Naugarduko 4, Vilnius LT-035 Lithuania,

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