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The sharp threshold for making squares

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  • UserPaul Balister (University of Memphis)
  • ClockThursday 11 February 2016, 14:30-15:30
  • HouseMR12.

If you have a question about this talk, please contact Andrew Thomason.

Many of the fastest known algorithms for factoring large integers rely on finding subsequences of randomly generated sequences of integers whose product is a perfect square. Motivated by this, in 1994 Pomerance posed the problem of determining the threshold of the event that a random sequence of N integers, each chosen uniformly from the set {1,...,x}, contains a subsequence, the product of whose elements is a perfect square. In 1996, Pomerance gave good bounds on this threshold and also conjectured that it is sharp.

In a paper published in Annals of Mathematics in 2012, Croot, Granville, Pemantle and Tetali significantly improved these bounds, and stated a conjecture as to the location of this sharp threshold. In recent work, we have confirmed this conjecture. In my talk, I shall give a brief overview of some of the ideas used in the proof, which relies on techniques from number theory, combinatorics and stochastic processes. Joint work with Béla Bollobás and Robert Morris.

This talk is part of the Combinatorics Seminar series.

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