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The Setup

Consider an elliptic curve $E$ in Weierstrass form

$y^2=x^3+ax+b$

with $a,b \in \mathbb{Z}$. As usual, we let $\Delta_E$ be the discriminant of the polynomial, and we set

$N_p := $ #{solutions of $y^2 \equiv x^3+ax+b$ mod $p$}

$a_p := p-N_p. $

Now we can define the incomplete $L$-series of $E$ (incomplete because we onit the Euler factors for primes $p|2\Delta$) by

$L(C,s) := \prod _{p \nmid \Delta_E} (1-a_p ^{-s} + p^{1-2s})^{-1}.$

The Birch and Swinnerton-Dyer conjecture states that $L(C,s)=c(s-1)^r +$ higher order terms.

Where $r$ is the rank of $E$

The Question

My question is can someone show me a concrete example of the BSD conjecture in action? Specifically, could someone give me a specific elliptic curve, show me why the curve algebraically has the rank it has, and what the L-function of the elliptic curve is and how the analytic rank equals the algebraic rank?

Thanks!

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+1. Why such a beautiful , clear, explanatory answer of Alvaro Lozano-Robledo got neglected ? . Very informative, the PCMI lecture book written by Alvaro Lozano - Robledo, is very interesting and the most elegantly written article I ever saw , which gives a gentle introduction about the conjecture for almost naive persons. Example : Me . Here is it . I downloaded it for free, but may be it got removed. –  Iyengar Oct 3 '12 at 20:43

2 Answers 2

up vote 6 down vote accepted

You should read

On the conjecture of Birch and Swinnerton-Dyer for an elliptic curve of rank 3

J.P. Buhler, B.H. Gross and D.B. Zagier

Mathematics of Computation vol 44 1985 pp 473-481

You should be able to download it free from the AMS web-site

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5  
You could have linked to the article directly, see. –  J. M. Aug 8 '12 at 8:29

Let us take the curve in the article cited by Allan MacLeod in another answer (the curve that appears in the Buhler-Gross-Zagier paper), and calculate all the invariants that participate in the B-SD conjecture, using Sage (I am actually using Sage online, version 5.2, to do this... which can be slow at times, but it usually works fine):

The curve in question is given by $E : y^2 = 4x^3-28x+25$. This is not a "standard" form anymore, so we first transform it to $E : Y^2 = X^3 - 28X/4 + 25/4$ first (where $X=x$ and $y=2Y$). We define the curve using Sage by

E = EllipticCurve([0,0,0,-28/4,25/4])

If you do not like this curve, because of those rational coefficients, you can clear denominators with a further transformation, or find a minimal model using Sage:

E.minimal_model()

Elliptic Curve defined by y^2 + y = x^3 - 7*x + 6 over Rational Field

We will work with the model $E: y^2 + y = x^3 - 7x + 6$ instead, for that, we type

E=E.minimal_model()

Buhler-Gross-Zagier mention that this curve has conductor $5077$...

E.conductor()

5077

which verifies this fact. Ok, that's great, we have the right curve. Let's begin by calculating the rank, generators, and their regulator:

E.rank()

3

E.gens()

[(-2 : 3 : 1), (-1 : 3 : 1), (0 : 2 : 1)]

R = E.regulator()

R

0.417143558758384

The number of torsion points on $E$ also figures into the B-SD formula, so let's calculate the torsion subgroup:

E.torsion_subgroup()

Torsion Subgroup isomorphic to Trivial group associated to the Elliptic Curve defined by y^2 + y = x^3 - 7*x + 6 over Rational Field

Now we calculate $\Omega$, twice the real period of $E$ (we need twice the real period because $E(\mathbb{R})$ is not connected):

2*E.period_lattice().real_period()

4.15168798308693

We need two further refined invariants. The Tamagawa numbers $c_p$ are calculated first:

E.tamagawa_numbers()

1

Note that we could have also used "E.tamagawa_product()" instead. And then it remains to calculate Sha... I can't. See this Sage page for commands to try and calculate Sha, but these fail when the rank is $>2$. The best we can do (as in the Buhler-Gross-Zagier paper) is to prove that the 2-part is trivial:

S = E.sha()

S.two_selmer_bound()

0

which means that indeed the two part is trivial. Using

E.heegner_sha_an(-7)

1.00000000000000

we have further evidence that Sha is trivial.

It is high time to calculate the Hasse-Weil $L$-function of $E/\mathbb{Q}$ and see if everything agrees as it is supposed to.

L = E.lseries().dokchitser()

This returns the Hasse-Weil L-function of E, calculated using a method of Tim Dokchitser. Let's calculate $L(E,1)$.

L(1)

0.000000000000000

Now the first derivative:

L.derivative(1,1)

-5.63436295355417e-22

Now the second derivative...

L.derivative(1,2)

2.08600476044446e-21

And the third...

L.derivative(1,3)

10.3910994007158

That's the first "non-zero" value (the other values where very, very close to zero... but we did not prove they were zero!). Now, B-SD says that:

$$\frac{L^{(3)}(E,1)}{3!} = \frac{ |\text{Sha}| \cdot \Omega \cdot R \cdot \text{Tam} }{ |\text{torsion}|^2}$$

The left hand side of the B-SD formula is (numerically):

L.derivative(1,3)/6

1.73184990011930

while the right hand side, assuming that Sha is trivial is:

(1 * 4.15168798308693 * 0.417143558758384 * 1) / 1^2

1.73184990011930

so both sides of the equation match! (up to the given precision...).

share|improve this answer
1  
+1. Why such a beautiful , clear, explanatory answer got neglected ? . Very informative, the PCMI lecture book written by Alvaro Lozano - Robledo, is very interesting , which gives a gentle introduction about the conjecture for almost naive persons. Example : Me . Here is it . I downloaded it for free, but may be it got removed. –  Iyengar Oct 3 '12 at 20:42

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