# Number Theory

## The Life and Numbers of Richard Guy (1916 – 2020)

Over fifty years ago Richard Kenneth Guy joined the then Department of Mathematics, Statistics and Computer Science at the nascent University of Calgary. Although he retired from the University in 1982, he continued, even in his last year, to come in to the University every day and work on the mathematics that he loved. In this talk I will provide a glimpse into the life and research of this most remarkable man. In doing this, I will recount several of the important events of Richard’s life and briefly discuss some of his mathematical contributions.

##### About Dr. Williams

: Dr. Hugh Williams is internationally recognized as an expert in computational number theory and its applications to cryptography. Shortly after obtaining his Ph.D. in 1969 from the Department of Applied Analysis and Computer Science at the University of Waterloo, he joined the newly established Department of Computer Science at the University of Manitoba, where he was promoted to the rank of Full Professor in 1979. He also served there as Associate Dean of Science for Research Development for seven years (1994-2001). He moved to the University of Calgary in 2001 to take up the iCORE Chair for Algorithmic Number Theory and Cryptography (2001-2013) and retired as Emeritus Professor of Mathematics and Statistics in 2016. Dr. Williams has authored over 150 refereed journal papers, 30 refereed conference papers and 20 books or book chapters, and from 1983-85 held a national Killam Research Fellowship. In February 2009, Dr, Williams was selected for a six year term as the inaugural Director of the Tutte Institute for Mathematics and Computing (TIMC), a highly classified research facility established by the federal government. In 2016, he was appointed Professor Emeritus in Mathematics and Statistics at the University of Calgary.

## The Notorious Collatz conjecture

Start with any natural number. If it is even, divide it by two. If instead it is odd, multiply it by three and add one. Now repeat this process indefinitely. The Collatz conjecture asserts that no matter how large an initial number one starts with, this process eventually reaches the number one (and then loops back to one indefinitely after that). This conjecture has been tested for quintillions of initial numbers, but remains unsolved in general; it is perhaps one of the simplest to state problems in all of mathematics that remains open; it is also one of the most notorious "mathematical diseases" that can lure professional and amateur mathematicians alike into devoting hours of futile effort into trying to solve the problem. While it is itself mostly a curiosity, and the full resolution still remains well out of reach of current technology, the Collatz problem is a model example of the more general concept of a dynamical system, which occurs throughout mathematics and science; and so progress on the Collatz conjecture can shed some light on the more general problem of understanding dynamical systems. In this lecture we give some of the history of the Collatz conjecture and some of its variants, and also describe some recent partial results on the problem.

##### About Dr. Tao:

Terence Tao was born in Adelaide, Australia in 1975. He has been a professor of mathematics at UCLA since 1999. Tao's areas of research include harmonic analysis, PDE, combinatorics, and number theory. He has received a number of awards, including the Fields Medal in 2006, the MacArthur Fellowship in 2007, the Waterman Award in 2008, and the Breakthrough Prize in Mathematics in 2015. Terence Tao also currently holds the James and Carol Collins chair in mathematics at UCLA, and is a Fellow of the Royal Society and the National Academy of Sciences.

## Crossing Numbers of Large Complete Graphs

TBA

## Aliquot sequences

These are sequences formed by iterating the sum-of-proper-divisors function. For example: 12, 16, 15, 9, 4, 3, 1, 0. Of interest since Pythagoras, who remarked on the fixed point 6 (a perfect number) and the 2-cycle 220, 284 (an amicable pair), aliquot sequences were also one of Richard Guy's favorite subjects. The Catalan--Dickson conjecture asserts that every aliquot sequence is bounded (either terminates at zero or becomes periodic), while the Guy--Selfridge counter-conjecture asserts that many aliquot sequences diverge to infinity. It is interesting that Guy and Selfridge would make such a claim since no aliquot sequence is known to diverge, though the numerical evidence is certainly suggestive. The first case in doubt is the sequence beginning with 276. This talk will survey what's known about the problem and give evidence for and against the two countervailing views.

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## The favorite elliptic curve of Richard

Even in the title of one of his papers, Richard Guy called the elliptic curve with equation $y^2 = x^3 - 4x + 4$ his favorite. During the CNTA-XIV meeting in Calgary in 2016, I recalled some of his reasons for this (with Richard listening from the front row). The story as well as a few additional developments will also be the topic of the present lecture.

## Richard Guy and the Encyclopedia of Integer Sequences: A Fifty-Year Friendship

Richard Guy was a supporter of the database of integer sequences right from its beginning in the 1960s. This talk will be illustrated by sequences that he contributed, sequences he wrote about, and especially sequences with open problems that he would have liked but that I never got to tell him about.

## Explicit results about primes in Chebotarev's density theorem

Let $L/K$ be a Galois extension of number fields with Galois group $G$, and let $C⊂G$ be a conjugacy class. Attached to each unramified prime ideal p in OK is the Artin symbol $\sigma p$, a conjugacy class in $G$. In 1922 Chebotarev established what is referred to his density theorem (CDT). It asserts that the number $\pi C(x)$ of such primes with $\sigma p=C$ and norm $Np≤x$ is asymptotically $\left|C\right|\left|G\right|\mathrm{Li} (x)$ as $x\rightarrow\infty$ where $\mathrm{Li} (x)$ is the usual logarithmic integral. As such, CDT is a generalisation of both the prime number theorem and Dirichlet's theorem on primes in arithmetic progressions. In light of Linnik's result on the least prime in an arithmetic progression, one may ask for a bound for the least prime ideal whose Artin symbol equals C. In 1977 Lagarias and Odlyzko proved explicit versions of CDT and in 1979 Lagarias, Montgomery and Odlyzko gave bounds for the least prime ideal in the CDT. Since 2012 several unconditional explicit results of these theorems have appeared with contributions by Zaman, Zaman and Thorner, Ahn and Kwon, and Winckler. I will present several recent results we have proven with Das, Ng, and Wong.

## Regular Representations of Groups

A natural way to understand groups visually is by examining objects on which the group has a natural permutation action. In fact, this is often the way we first show groups to undergraduate students: introducing the cyclic and dihedral groups as the groups of symmetries of polygons, logos, or designs. For example, the dihedral group $D_8$ of order 8 is the group of symmetries of a square. However, there are some challenges with this particular example of visualisation, as many people struggle to understand how reflections and rotations interact as symmetries of a square.

Every group G admits a natural permutation action on the set of elements of $G$ (in fact, two): acting by right- (or left-) multiplication. (The action by right-multiplication is given by $\left{t_g : g \in G\right}, where $t_g(h) = hg$ for every $h \in G$.) This action is called the "right- (or left-) regular representation" of $G$. It is straightforward to observe that this action is regular (that is, for any two elements of the underlying set, there is precisely one group element that maps one to the other). If it is possible to find an object that can be labelled with the elements of $G$ in such a way that the symmetries of the object are precisely the right-regular representation of $G$, then we call this object a "regular representation" of $G$.

A Cayley (di)graph $Cay(G,S)$ on the group $G$ (with connection set $S$, a subset of $G$) is defined to have the set $G$ as its vertices, with an arc from $g$ to $sg$ for every $s$ in $S$. It is straightforward to see that the right-regular representation of $G$ is a subset of the automorphism group of this (di)graph. However, it is often not at all obvious whether or not $Cay(G,S)$ admits additional automorphisms. For example, $Cay(Z_4, {1,3})$ is a square, and therefore has $D_8$ rather than $Z_4$ as its full automorphism group, so is not a regular representation of $Z_4$. Nonetheless, since a regular representation that is a (di)graph must always be a Cayley (di)graph, we study these to determine when regular representations of groups are possible.

I will present results about which groups admit graphs, digraphs, and oriented graphs as regular representations, and how common it is for an arbitrary Cayley digraph to be a regular representation.

## Class Numbers of Certain Quadratic Fields

Class number of a number field is one of the fundamental and mysterious objects in algebraic number theory and related topics. I will discuss the class numbers of some quadratic fields. More precisely, I will discuss some results concerning the divisibility of the class numbers of certain families of real (respectively, imaginary) quadratic fields in both qualitative and quantitative aspects. I will also look at the 3-rank of the ideal class groups of certain imaginary quadratic fields. The talk will be based on some recent works done along with my collaborators.

## Some specialization problems in Geometry and Number Theory

We shall survey over the general issue of `specializations which preserve a property', for a parametrized family of algebraic varieties. We shall limit ourselves to a few examples. We shall start by recalling typical contexts like Bertini and Hilbert Irreducibility theorems, illustrating some new result. Then we shall jump to much more recent instances, related to algebraic families of abelian varieties.

** Please note, this video was recorded using an older in room system and has substantially diminished video quality.**