Author Archives: Brent

About Brent

Assistant Professor of Computer Science at Hendrix College. Functional programmer, mathematician, teacher, pianist, follower of Jesus.

Dirichlet convolution

Let and be two functions defined on the positive integers. Then the Dirichlet convolution of and , written , is another function on the positive integers, defined as follows: The sum is taken over all possible factorizations of into a … Continue reading

Posted in combinatorics, proof | Tagged , , , | 2 Comments

The Möbius function proof, part 2 (the subset parity lemma)

Continuing from my previous post, we are in the middle of proving that satisfies the same equation as , that is, and that therefore for all , that is, is the sum of all the th primitive roots of unity. … Continue reading

Posted in arithmetic, combinatorics, complex numbers, primes, proof | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

The Möbius function proof, part 1

In my last post, I introduced the Möbius function , which is defined in terms of the prime factorization of : if has any repeated prime factors, that is, if is divisible by a perfect square. Otherwise, if has distinct … Continue reading

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The Möbius function

Time to pull back the curtain a bit! My recent series of posts on complex roots of unity may seem somewhat random and unmotivated so far, but the fact is that I definitely have a destination in mind—we are slowly … Continue reading

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Computing sums of primitive roots

Remember this picture? It, and other pictures like it, express the fact that for a given , if we take the primitive roots for each of the divisors of , together they make up exactly the set of all th … Continue reading

Posted in geometry, pictures | Tagged , , , , , , | 9 Comments

Sums of primitive roots

In my previous post, we saw that adding up all the complex th roots of unity always yields zero (unless , in which case the sum is ). Intuitively, this is because the roots are symmetrically distributed around the unit … Continue reading

Posted in geometry, pictures | Tagged , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Sums and symmetry

Let’s continue our exploration of roots of unity. Recall that for any positive integer , there are complex numbers, evenly spaced around the unit circle, whose th power is equal to . These are called the th roots of unity. … Continue reading

Posted in geometry, pictures | Tagged , , , , , , | 2 Comments