Archive for February 24th, 2010

EDP9 — a change of focus

February 24, 2010

The discussion in the last thread has noticeably moved on to new topics. In particular, multiplicative functions have been much less in the spotlight. Some progress has been made on the question of whether the Fourier transform of a sequence of bounded discrepancy must be very large somewhere, though the question is far from answered, and it is not even clear that the answer is yes. (One might suggest that the answer is trivially yes if EDP is true, but that is to misunderstand the question. An advantage of this question is that there could in theory be a positive answer not just for \pm 1-valued functions but also for [-1,1]-valued functions with L_2 norm at least c>0, say.)

Another question that has been investigated, mostly by Sune, is the question about what happens if one takes another structure (consisting of “pseudointegers”) for which EDP makes sense. The motivation for this is either to find a more general statement that seems to be true or to find a more general statement that seems to be false. In the first case, one would see that certain features of \mathbb{N} were not crucial to the problem, which would decrease the size of the “proof space” in which one was searching (since now one would try to find proofs that did not use these incidental features of \mathbb{N}). In the second case, one would see that certain features of \mathbb{N} were crucial to the problem (since without them the answer would be negative), which would again decrease the size of the proof space. Perhaps the least satisfactory outcome of these investigations would be an example of a system that was very similar to \mathbb{N} where it was possible to prove EDP. For example, perhaps one could find a system of real numbers X that was closed under multiplication and had a counting function very similar to that of \mathbb{N}, but that was very far from closed under addition. That might mean that there were no troublesome additive examples, and one might even be able to prove a more general result (that applied, e.g., to [-1,1]-valued functions). This would be interesting, but the proof, if it worked, would be succeeding by getting rid of the difficulties rather than dealing with them. However, even this would have some bearing on EDP itself, I think, as it would be a strong indication that it was indeed necessary to prove EDP by showing that counterexamples had to have certain properties (such as additive periodicity) and then pressing on from there to a contradiction. (more…)