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On the Set of Common Differences in van der Waerden's Theorem on Arithmetic Progressions

Open Access article
 Printed: Mar 1999
  • Tom C. Brown
  • Ronald L. Graham
  • Bruce M. Landman
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Analogues of van der Waerden's theorem on arithmetic progressions are considered where the family of all arithmetic progressions, $\AP$, is replaced by some subfamily of $\AP$. Specifically, we want to know for which sets $A$, of positive integers, the following statement holds: for all positive integers $r$ and $k$, there exists a positive integer $n= w'(k,r)$ such that for every $r$-coloring of $[1,n]$ there exists a monochromatic $k$-term arithmetic progression whose common difference belongs to $A$. We will call any subset of the positive integers that has the above property {\em large}. A set having this property for a specific fixed $r$ will be called {\em $r$-large}. We give some necessary conditions for a set to be large, including the fact that every large set must contain an infinite number of multiples of each positive integer. Also, no large set $\{a_{n}: n=1,2,\dots\}$ can have $\liminf\limits_{n \rightarrow \infty} \frac{a_{n+1}}{a_{n}} > 1$. Sufficient conditions for a set to be large are also given. We show that any set containing $n$-cubes for arbitrarily large $n$, is a large set. Results involving the connection between the notions of ``large'' and ``2-large'' are given. Several open questions and a conjecture are presented.
MSC Classifications: 11B25, 05D10 show english descriptions Arithmetic progressions [See also 11N13]
Ramsey theory [See also 05C55]
11B25 - Arithmetic progressions [See also 11N13]
05D10 - Ramsey theory [See also 05C55]

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