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Sign Changes of the Liouville Function on Quadratics


Published:20110831
Printed: Jun 2013
Peter Borwein,
Department of Mathematics, Simon Fraser University, Burnaby, BC, V5C 1S6
Stephen K. K. Choi,
Department of Mathematics, Simon Fraser University, Burnaby, BC, V5C 1S6
Himadri Ganguli,
Department of Mathematics, Simon Fraser University, Burnaby, BC, V5C 1S6
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Abstract
Let $\lambda (n)$ denote the Liouville function. Complementary to the prime number theorem, Chowla conjectured
that
\begin{equation*}
\label{a.1}
\sum_{n\le x} \lambda (f(n)) =o(x)\tag{$*$}
\end{equation*}
for any polynomial $f(x)$ with integer coefficients which is not of
form $bg(x)^2$.
When $f(x)=x$, $(*)$ is equivalent to the prime number theorem.
Chowla's conjecture has been proved for linear functions,
but for degree
greater than 1, the conjecture seems
to be extremely hard and remains wide open.
One can consider a weaker form
of Chowla's conjecture.
Conjecture 1.
[Cassaigne et al.]
If $f(x) \in \mathbb{Z} [x]$ and is not in the form of $bg^2(x)$
for some $g(x)\in \mathbb{Z}[x]$, then $\lambda (f(n))$
changes sign infinitely often.
Clearly, Chowla's conjecture implies Conjecture 1.
Although weaker,
Conjecture 1 is still wide open for polynomials of degree $\gt 1$.
In this article, we study Conjecture 1 for
quadratic polynomials. One of our main theorems is the following.
Theorem 1
Let $f(x) = ax^2+bx +c $ with $a\gt 0$ and $l$
be a positive integer such that $al$ is
not a perfect square. If the
equation $f(n)=lm^2 $ has one solution
$(n_0,m_0) \in \mathbb{Z}^2$, then it has infinitely
many positive solutions $(n,m) \in \mathbb{N}^2$.
As a direct consequence of Theorem 1, we prove the following.
Theorem 2
Let $f(x)=ax^2+bx+c$ with $a \in \mathbb{N}$ and $b,c \in \mathbb{Z}$. Let
\[
A_0=\Bigl[\frac{b+(D+1)/2}{2a}\Bigr]+1.
\]
Then either the binary sequence $\{ \lambda (f(n)) \}_{n=A_0}^\infty$ is
a constant sequence or it changes sign infinitely often.
Some partial results of Conjecture 1 for quadratic polynomials are also proved using Theorem 1.
Keywords: 
Liouville function, Chowla's conjecture, prime number theorem, binary sequences, changes sign infinitely often, quadratic polynomials, Pell equation
Liouville function, Chowla's conjecture, prime number theorem, binary sequences, changes sign infinitely often, quadratic polynomials, Pell equation
