Two Classic Problems in Point-Counting

This post discusses two classic problems in analytic number theory: the Gauss circle problem and the Dirichlet divisor problem.

These problems are known to be related at a deep level, a fact which is often missed at first glance because the obvious/early attacks on them look quite different.

In this post, I compare these “trivial” estimates, and show how Gauss’ estimate can be realized using a few different techniques.

Read Article →

Counting Matrices of Small Trace

One of the ingredients in a paper that Bram Petri and I submitted in 2016 was a count of integer matrices of determinant 1 with non-negative entries and bounded trace.

Our paper only required an upper bound, but as a number theorist I couldn’t resist the temptation of describing the asymptotics of this function more precisely. In this post we explore do just that, exploring Dirchlet’s hyperbola method along the way.

Read Article →

Lattice Points in High-Dimensional Spheres

The Gauss Circle Problem is a classic open problem in number theory concerning the number of lattice points contained in a large circle.

Optimal error bounds are known in these approximations in a generalization of the Gauss Circle Problem to spheres in dimensions four and above.

In this post, I’ll give a purely analytic proof of this result for even dimensions greater than four, and explain why the method fails in the other cases.

Read Article →

Sums of Squares and Density

Classification theorems of Euler, Lagrange, and Legendre describe the sets of integers that can be written as the sum of 2, 3, and 4 squares. In the last two cases, it follows easily that the density of these sets are 5/6 and 1.

The question of density is not so simple in the case of two squares. In this post, we resolve using an unexpected tool — Dirichlet’s theorem on primes in arithmetic progressions.

Read Article →