# Erdős-Straus-conjecture using polynomials in Python

I am trying to write a code in Python to do the following. We can express the Erdős-Straus-conjecture in function of some polynomials $$x(k), y(k), z(k) \in \mathbb{Q}[k]$$ such that $$\frac4k = \frac{1}{x(k)} + \frac{1}{y(k)} + \frac{1}{z(k)}$$. Notice that the coefficients are rational numbers, but they have to be integers to be able to use them for this conjecture. Following formulas are given:

1. $$\frac4k = \frac1{uk} + \frac1{vk} + \frac{4uv - u - v}{uvk} \quad(P1)$$
2. $$\frac4k = \frac1{uk} + \frac{4u-1}{uk+v} + \frac{(4u-1)v}{uk(uk+v)}\quad (P2)$$
3. $$\frac4k = \frac{4u}{uk+v+1} + \frac4{k(uk+v+1)} + \frac{4v}{k(uk+v+1)}\quad (P3)$$
4. $$\frac4k = \frac4{k+v} + \frac{4v}{k(k+4u+v)} + \frac{16uv}{k(k+v)(k+4u+v)} \quad (P4)$$

The following theorem is used to determine when polynomials yield integer values: Consider $$f \in \mathbb{Q}[k]$$ en choose $$m \in \mathbb{Z}$$ such that $$m \cdot f$$ only has integer coefficients. Now consider $$n = am+b \in \mathbb{Z}$$ with $$0 \le b < m$$. Then $$f(n) \in \mathbb{Z}$$ iff $$(m\cdot f)(b) \equiv 0\,\,(mod\,\,m)$$.

This theorem implies that only looking at the residue classes modulo $$m$$ is sufficient to find out for which integers $$n$$ also $$f(n)$$ will be an integer.

For the Erdös-Straus-conjucture I have three polynomials $$f_1(n), f_2(n), f_3(n)$$. I want to find out for which $$n$$ all three polynomials have integer coefficients. Consider the corresponding $$m$$-values $$m_1,m_2,m_3$$ and let $$m$$ be equal to $$lcm(m_1,m_2,m_3)$$. Applying the above theorem (with the $$m$$ found), it's enough to check for which residue classes modulo $$m$$ all three polynomials $$f_1,f_2,f_3$$ will be integers.

So, I'd like to write a function in Python that has concrete values of $$u$$ and $$v$$ as input. I want to calculate the correct value for $$m$$ and to check for which residue classes modulo $$m$$ the polynomials have integer values. Therefore, the output should be a tuple ($$m$$,L) with L the list of residue classes modulo $$m$$ (that satisfy the conditions). I want to be able to use this function for (P1), (P2), (P3) and (P4).

This is what I've got so far:

P.<k> = PolynomialRing(QQ)
var('x,y,z')
def P1(u,v):
x = u*k
y = v*k
z = (u*v*k)/(4*u*v-u-v)
return (x,y,z)
def P2(u,v):
x = u*k
y = (u*k+v)/(4*u-1)
z = (u*k*(u*k+v))/((4*u-1)*v)
return (x,y,z)
def P3(u,v):
x = (u*k+v+1)/(4*u)
y = (k*(u*k+v+1))/4
z = (k*(u*k+v+1))/(4*v)
return (x,y,z)
def P4(u,v):
x = (k+v)/4
y = (k*(k+4*u+v))/(4*v)
z = (k*(k+v)*(k+4*u+v))/(16*u*v)
return (x,y,z)

var('m,k')
def findM(f):
m = (f(k=1)^-1).denominator()
return m
var('u,v,P,m1,m2,m3,m,k')
def mP(u,v,P):
D = P(u,v)
m1 = findM(D)
m2 = findM(D)
m3 = findM(D)
m = lcm([m1,m2,m3])
L = []
for i in xrange(1,m-1):
if((D(k=i)^-1).denominator() == 1 and (D(k=i)^-1).denominator() == 1 and (D(k=i)^-1).denominator() == 1 and Mod(m*((D^-1) + (D^-1) + (D^-1))(k=b),m) == 0):
L.append(i)
return (m,L)


The problem is a keep getting an empty list. I'm using Sage Math to compute this (which is based on Python - kinda). Can someone please help me.

Infinitely grateful!

The following is a possible implementation, which you can test here.


R. = PolynomialRing(QQ)
D. = PolynomialRing(ZZ)
def P1(u,v):
x = u*k
y = v*k
z = (u*v*k)/(4*u*v-u-v)
return (x,y,z)
def P2(u,v):
x = u*k
y = (u*k+v)/(4*u-1)
z = (u*k*(u*k+v))/((4*u-1)*v)
return (x,y,z)
def P3(u,v):
x = (u*k+v+1)/(4*u)
y = (k*(u*k+v+1))/4
z = (k*(u*k+v+1))/(4*v)
return (x,y,z)
def P4(u,v):
x = (k+v)/4
y = (k*(k+4*u+v))/(4*v)
z = (k*(k+v)*(k+4*u+v))/(16*u*v)
return (x,y,z)
def findM(f):
m = f.denominator()
return m
def mP(u,v,P):
f = P(u,v)
m1 = findM(f)
m2 = findM(f)
m3 = findM(f)
m = lcm([m1,m2,m3])
F = [D(m*f),D(m*f),D(m*f)]
L = []
for i in xrange(1,m+1):
if(Mod(F(i),m)==0 and Mod(F(i),m)==0 and Mod(F(i),m)==0):
L.append(i)
return (m,L)
#Example:
[u,v,P] = [3/5,5,P4]
[m,S] = mP(u,v,P)
[x,y,z] = P(u,v)

print("[u,v,m] = ",[u,v,m])
print("[k,x(k),y(k),z(k),check]:")
for k in S:
[xk,yk,zk] = [x(k),y(k),z(k)]
chk = 1/xk + 1/yk + 1/zk
print [k,xk,yk,zk,chk==4/k]


The example, using $$(u,v)=(3/5,5)$$ and $$P4$$, will return


[75, 20, 309, 10300, True]
[175, 45, 1596, 119700, True]
[375, 95, 7170, 1135250, True]
[475, 120, 11457, 2291400, True]
[675, 170, 23031, 6525450, True]
[775, 195, 30318, 9853350, True]
[975, 245, 47892, 19555900, True]
[1075, 270, 58179, 26180550, True]


The first line would mean $$\frac{4}{75} = \frac{1}{20} + \frac{1}{309} + \frac{1}{10300}$$

You declared


P.<k> = PolynomialRing(QQ)


but later this removes the declaration:


var('u,v,P,m1,m2,m3,m,k')


You might want to assign a universal ring $$R:=\mathbb Q[k]$$ that is untouched throughout instead. Might also be a good idea to have an integral ring $$D:=\mathbb Z[k]$$ since you will work in it later, but I guess it's not necessary. i.e.


R.<k> = PolynomialRing(QQ)
D.<k> = PolynomialRing(ZZ)


For finding $$m$$, it suffices to use


def findM(f):
m = f.denominator()
return m


The current command


(f(k=1)^-1).denominator()


will find the numerator instead, and evaluated at $$f(1)$$ so not the true denominator.

One last point is xrange(1,m-1) gives you the range $$[1,2,\dots,m-2]$$ but you want $$[1,2,\dots,m]$$.

• Thank you so much! It works and I understand what you wrote. Dec 10, 2018 at 10:22
• @Zachary Glad to have helped! Dec 10, 2018 at 10:45