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# Sign Changes of the Liouville Function on Quadratics

Published:2011-08-31
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
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.