OPEN - $500

If $A\subseteq \{1,\ldots,N\}$ with $\lvert A\rvert=n$ is such that the subset sums $\sum_{a\in S}a$ are distinct for all $S\subseteq A$ then
\[N \gg 2^{n}.\]

Erdős called this 'perhaps my first serious problem'. The powers of $2$ show that $2^n$ would be best possible here. The trivial lower bound is $N \gg 2^{n}/n$, since all $2^n$ distinct subset sums must lie in $[0,Nn)$. Erdős and Moser [Er56] proved
\[ N\geq (\tfrac{1}{4}-o(1))\frac{2^n}{\sqrt{n}}.\]
A number of improvements of the constant have been given (see [St23] for a history), with the current record $\sqrt{2/\pi}$ first proved in unpublished work of Elkies and Gleason. Two proofs achieving this constant are provided by Dubroff, Fox, and Xu [DFX21], who in fact prove the exact bound $N\geq \binom{n}{\lfloor n/2\rfloor}$.

In [Er73] and [ErGr80] the generalisation where $A\subseteq (0,N]$ is a set of real numbers such that the subset sums all differ by at least $1$ is proposed, with the same conjectured bound. (The second proof of [DFX21] applies also to this generalisation.)

This problem appears in Erdős' book with Spencer [ErSp74] in the final chapter titled 'The kitchen sink'. As Ruzsa writes in [Ru99] "it is a rich kitchen where such things go to the sink".

See also [350].

SOLVED - $1000

Can the smallest modulus of a covering system be arbitrarily large?

Described by Erdős as 'perhaps my favourite problem'. Hough [Ho15], building on work of Filaseta, Ford, Konyagin, Pomerance, and Yu [FFKPY07], has shown the answer is no: the smallest modulus must be at most $10^{18}$.

An alternative, simpler, proof was given by Balister, Bollobás, Morris, Sahasrabudhe, and Tiba [BBMST22], who improved the bound on the smallest modulus to $616000$.

OPEN - $5000

If $A\subseteq \mathbb{N}$ has $\sum_{n\in A}\frac{1}{n}=\infty$ then must $A$ contain arbitrarily long arithmetic progressions?

This is essentially asking for good bounds on $r_k(N)$, the size of the largest subset of $\{1,\ldots,N\}$ without a non-trivial $k$-term arithmetic progression. For example, a bound like
\[r_k(N) \ll_k \frac{N}{(\log N)(\log\log N)^2}\]
would be sufficient.

Even the case $k=3$ is non-trivial, but was proved by Bloom and Sisask [BlSi20]. Much better bounds for $r_3(N)$ were subsequently proved by Kelley and Meka [KeMe23]. Green and Tao [GrTa17] proved $r_4(N)\ll N/(\log N)^{c}$ for some small constant $c>0$. Gowers [Go01] proved \[r_k(N) \ll \frac{N}{(\log\log N)^{c_k}},\] where $c_k>0$ is a small constant depending on $k$. The current best bounds for general $k$ are due to Leng, Sah, and Sawhney [LSS24], who show that \[r_k(N) \ll \frac{N}{\exp((\log\log N)^{c_k})}\] for some constant $c_k>0$ depending on $k$.

Curiously, Erdős [Er83c] thought this conjecture was the 'only way to approach' the conjecture that there are arbitrarily long arithmetic progressions of prime numbers, now a theorem due to Green and Tao [GrTa08].

In [Er81] Erdős makes the stronger conjecture that \[r_k(N) \ll_C\frac{N}{(\log N)^C}\] for every $C>0$ (now known for $k=3$ due to Kelley and Meka [KeMe23]) - see [140].

SOLVED - $10000

For any $C>0$ are there infinitely many $n$ such that
\[p_{n+1}-p_n> C\frac{\log\log n\log\log\log\log n}{(\log\log \log n)^2}\log n?\]

The peculiar quantitative form of Erdős' question was motivated by an old result of Rankin [Ra38], who proved there exists some constant $C>0$ such that the claim holds. Solved by Maynard [Ma16] and Ford, Green, Konyagin, and Tao [FGKT16]. The best bound available, due to all five authors [FGKMT18], is that there are infinitely many $n$ such that
\[p_{n+1}-p_n\gg \frac{\log\log n\log\log\log\log n}{\log\log \log n}\log n.\]
The likely truth is a lower bound like $\gg(\log n)^2$. In [Er97c] Erdős revised the value of this problem to \$5000 and reserved the \$10000 for a lower bound of $>(\log n)^{1+c}$ for some $c>0$.

See also [687].

OPEN

Let $C\geq 0$. Is there an infinite sequence of $n_i$ such that
\[\lim_{i\to \infty}\frac{p_{n_i+1}-p_{n_i}}{\log n_i}=C?\]

Let $S$ be the set of limit points of $(p_{n+1}-p_n)/\log n$. This problem asks whether $S=[0,\infty]$. Although this conjecture remains unproven, a lot is known about $S$. Some highlights:

- $\infty\in S$ by Westzynthius' result [We31] on large prime gaps,
- $0\in S$ by the work of Goldston, Pintz, and Yildirim [GPY09] on small prime gaps,
- Erdős [Er55] and Ricci [Ri56] independently showed that $S$ has positive Lebesgue measure,
- Hildebrand and Maier [HiMa88] showed that $S$ contains arbitrarily large (finite) numbers,
- Pintz [Pi16] showed that there exists some small constant $c>0$ such that $[0,c]\subset S$,
- Banks, Freiberg, and Maynard [BFM16] showed that at least $12.5\%$ of $[0,\infty)$ belongs to $S$,
- Merikoski [Me20] showed that at least $1/3$ of $[0,\infty)$ belongs to $S$, and that $S$ has bounded gaps.

OPEN

Is there a covering system all of whose moduli are odd?

Asked by Erdős and Selfridge (sometimes also with Schinzel). They also asked whether there can be a covering system such that all the moduli are odd and squarefree. The answer to this stronger question is no, proved by Balister, Bollobás, Morris, Sahasrabudhe, and Tiba [BBMST22].

Hough and Nielsen [HoNi19] proved that at least one modulus must be divisible by either $2$ or $3$. A simpler proof of this fact was provided by Balister, Bollobás, Morris, Sahasrabudhe, and Tiba [BBMST22].

Selfridge has shown (as reported in [Sc67]) that such a covering system exists if a covering system exists with moduli $n_1,\ldots,n_k$ such that no $n_i$ divides any other $n_j$ (but the latter has been shown not to exist, see [586]).

OPEN

Let $A$ be the set of all integers not of the form $p+2^{k}+2^l$ (where $k,l\geq 0$ and $p$ is prime). Is the upper density of $A$ positive?

Crocker [Cr71] has proved there are are $\gg\log\log N$ such integers in $\{1,\ldots,N\}$ (any number of the form $2^{2^m}-1$ with $m\geq 3$ suffices). Pan [Pa11] improved this to $\gg_\epsilon N^{1-\epsilon}$ for any $\epsilon>0$. Erdős believes this cannot be proved by covering systems, i.e. integers of the form $p+2^k+2^l$ exist in every infinite arithmetic progression.

OPEN

Is there some $k$ such that every integer is the sum of a prime and at most $k$ powers of 2?

Erdős described this as 'probably unattackable'. In [ErGr80] Erdős and Graham suggest that no such $k$ exists. Gallagher [Ga75] has shown that for any $\epsilon>0$ there exists $k(\epsilon)$ such that the set of integers which are the sum of a prime and at most $k(\epsilon)$ many powers of 2 has lower density at least $1-\epsilon$.

Granville and Soundararajan [GrSo98] have conjectured that at most $3$ powers of 2 suffice for all odd integers, and hence at most $4$ powers of $2$ suffice for all even integers. (The restriction to odd integers is important here - for example, Bogdan Grechuk has observed that $1117175146$ is not the sum of a prime and at most $3$ powers of $2$, and pointed out that parity considerations, coupled with the fact that there are many integers not the sum of a prime and $2$ powers of $2$ (see [9]) suggest that there exist infinitely many even integers which are not the sum of a prime and at most $3$ powers of $2$).

SOLVED - $500

If $G$ is an edge-disjoint union of $n$ copies of $K_n$ then is $\chi(G)=n$?

Conjectured by Faber, Lovász, and Erdős (apparently 'at a party in Boulder, Colarado in September 1972' [Er81]).

Kahn [Ka92] proved that $\chi(G)\leq (1+o(1))n$ (for which Erdős gave him a 'consolation prize' of \$100). Hindman has proved the conjecture for $n<10$. Kang, Kelly, Kühn, Methuku, and Osthus [KKKMO21] have proved the answer is yes for all sufficiently large $n$.

In [Er97d] Erdős asks how large $\chi(G)$ can be if instead of asking for the copies of $K_n$ to be edge disjoint we only ask for their intersections to be triangle free, or to contain at most one edge.

OPEN - $1000

Let $f(n,k)$ be minimal such that every $\mathcal{F}$ family of $n$-uniform sets with $\lvert F\rvert \geq f(n,k)$ contains a $k$-sunflower. Is it true that
\[f(n,k) < c_k^n\]
for some constant $c_k>0$?

Erdős and Rado [ErRa60] originally proved $f(n,k)\leq (k-1)^nn!$. Kostochka [Ko97] improved this slightly (in particular establishing an upper bound of $o(n!)$, for which Erdős awarded him the consolation prize of \$100), but the bound stood at $n^{(1+o(1))n}$ for a long time until Alweiss, Lovett, Wu, and Zhang [ALWZ20] proved
\[f(n,k) < (Ck\log n\log\log n)^n\]
for some constant $C>1$. This was refined slightly, independently by Rao [Ra20], Frankston, Kahn, Narayanan, and Park [FKNP19], and Bell, Chueluecha, and Warnke [BCW21], leading to the current record of
\[f(n,k) < (Ck\log n)^n\]
for some constant $C>1$.

In [Er81] offered \$1000 for a proof or disproof even just in the special case when $k=3$, which he expected 'contains the whole difficulty'. He also wrote 'I really do not see why this question is so difficult'.

The usual focus is on the regime where $k=O(1)$ is fixed (say $k=3$) and $n$ is large, although for the opposite regime Kostochka, Rödl, and Talysheva [KoRoTa99] have shown \[f(n,k)=(1+O_n(k^{-1/2^n}))k^n.\]

OPEN - $500

If $A\subseteq \mathbb{N}$ is such that $A+A$ contains all but finitely many integers then $\limsup 1_A\ast 1_A(n)=\infty$.

Conjectured by Erdős and Turán. They also suggest the stronger conjecture that $\limsup 1_A\ast 1_A(n)/\log n>0$.

Another stronger conjecture would be that the hypothesis $\lvert A\cap [1,N]\rvert \gg N^{1/2}$ for all large $N$ suffices.

Erdős and Sárközy conjectured the stronger version that if $A=\{a_1<a_2<\cdots\}$ and $B=\{b_1<b_2<\cdots\}$ with $a_n/b_n\to 1$ are such that $A+B=\mathbb{N}$ then $\limsup 1_A\ast 1_B(n)=\infty$.

See also [40].

SOLVED - $100

Is there an explicit construction of a set $A\subseteq \mathbb{N}$ such that $A+A=\mathbb{N}$ but $1_A\ast 1_A(n)=o(n^\epsilon)$ for every $\epsilon>0$?

The existence of such a set was asked by Sidon to Erdős in 1932. Erdős (eventually) proved the existence of such a set using probabilistic methods. This problem asks for a constructive solution.

An explicit construction was given by Jain, Pham, Sawhney, and Zakharov [JPSZ24].

OPEN - $1000

Let $h(N)$ be the maximum size of a Sidon set in $\{1,\ldots,N\}$. Is it true that, for every $\epsilon>0$,
\[h(N) = N^{1/2}+O_\epsilon(N^\epsilon)?\]

A problem of Erdős and Turán. It may even be true that $h(N)=N^{1/2}+O(1)$, but Erdős remarks this is perhaps too optimistic. Erdős and Turán [ErTu41] proved an upper bound of $N^{1/2}+O(N^{1/4})$, with an alternative proof by Lindström [Li69]. Both proofs in fact give
\[h(N) \leq N^{1/2}+N^{1/4}+1.\]
Balogh, Füredi, and Roy [BFR21] improved the bound in the error term to $0.998N^{1/4}$, which has been further optimised by O'Bryant [OB22] to yield
\[h(N)\leq N^{1/2}+0.99703N^{1/4}\]
for sufficiently large $N$.

See also [241].

OPEN - $500

Is there an infinite Sidon set $A\subset \mathbb{N}$ such that
\[\lvert A\cap \{1\ldots,N\}\rvert \gg_\epsilon N^{1/2-\epsilon}\]
for all $\epsilon>0$?

The trivial greedy construction achieves $\gg N^{1/3}$. The current best bound of $\gg N^{\sqrt{2}-1+o(1)}$ is due to Ruzsa [Ru98]. (Erdős [Er73] had offered \$25 for any construction which achieves $N^{c}$ for some $c>1/3$.) Erdős proved that for every infinite Sidon set $A$ we have
\[\liminf \frac{\lvert A\cap \{1,\ldots,N\}\rvert}{N^{1/2}}=0,\]
and also that there is a set $A\subset \mathbb{N}$ with $\lvert A\cap \{1\ldots,N\}\rvert \gg_\epsilon N^{1/2-\epsilon}$ such that $1_A\ast 1_A(n)=O(1)$.

Erdős and Rényi have constructed, for any $\epsilon>0$, a set $A$ such that \[\lvert A\cap \{1\ldots,N\}\rvert \gg_\epsilon N^{1/2-\epsilon}\] for all large $N$ and $1_A\ast 1_A(n)\ll_\epsilon 1$ for all $n$.

OPEN - $500

Let $A\subset\mathbb{N}$ be an infinite set such that the triple sums $a+b+c$ are all distinct for $a,b,c\in A$ (aside from the trivial coincidences). Is it true that
\[\liminf \frac{\lvert A\cap \{1,\ldots,N\}\rvert}{N^{1/3}}=0?\]

Erdős proved that if the pairwise sums $a+b$ are all distinct aside from the trivial coincidences then
\[\liminf \frac{\lvert A\cap \{1,\ldots,N\}\rvert}{N^{1/2}}=0.\]

SOLVED - $100

If $\delta>0$ and $N$ is sufficiently large in terms of $\delta$, and $A\subseteq\{1,\ldots,N\}$ is such that $\sum_{a\in A}\frac{1}{a}>\delta \log N$ then must there exist $S\subseteq A$ such that $\sum_{n\in S}\frac{1}{n}=1$?

Solved by Bloom [Bl21], who showed that the quantitative threshold
\[\sum_{n\in A}\frac{1}{n}\gg \frac{\log\log\log N}{\log\log N}\log N\]
is sufficient. This was improved by Liu and Sawhney [LiSa24] to
\[\sum_{n\in A}\frac{1}{n}\gg (\log N)^{4/5+o(1)}.\]
Erdős speculated that perhaps even $\gg (\log\log N)^2$ might be sufficient. (A construction of Pomerance, as discussed in the appendix of [Bl21], shows that this would be best possible.)

SOLVED

Is it true that the number of graphs on $n$ vertices which do not contain $G$ is
\[\leq 2^{(1+o(1))\mathrm{ex}(n;G)}?\]

If $G$ is not bipartite the answer is yes, proved by Erdős, Frankl, and Rödl [ErFrRo86]. The answer is no for $G=C_6$, the cycle on 6 vertices. Morris and Saxton [MoSa16] have proved there are at least
\[2^{(1+c)\mathrm{ex}(n;C_6)}\]
such graphs for infinitely many $n$, for some constant $c>0$. It is still possible (and conjectured by Morris and Saxton) that the weaker bound of
\[2^{O(\mathrm{ex}(n;G))}\]
holds for all $G$.

OPEN - $1000

Does every graph with minimum degree at least 3 contain a cycle of length $2^k$ for some $k\geq 2$?

Conjectured by Erdős and Gyárfás, who believed the answer must be negative, and in fact for every $r$ there must be a graph of minimum degree at least $r$ without a cycle of length $2^k$ for any $k\geq 2$.

This was solved in the affirmative if the minimum degree is larger than some absolute constant by Liu and Montgomery [LiMo20] (therefore disproving the above stronger conjecture of Erdős and Gyárfás). Liu and Montgomery prove a much stronger result: if the average degree of $G$ is sufficiently large then there is some large integer $\ell$ such that for every even integer $m\in [(\log \ell)^8,\ell]$, $G$ contains a cycle of length $m$.

OPEN - $500

Is there $A\subseteq \mathbb{N}$ such that
\[\lim_{n\to \infty}\frac{1_A\ast 1_A(n)}{\log n}\]
exists and is $\neq 0$?

A suitably constructed random set has this property if we are allowed to ignore an exceptional set of density zero. The challenge is obtaining this with no exceptional set. Erdős believed the answer should be no. Erdős and Sárkzözy proved that
\[\frac{\lvert 1_A\ast 1_A(n)-\log n\rvert}{\sqrt{\log n}}\to 0\]
is impossible. Erdős suggests it may even be true that the $\liminf$ and $\limsup$ of $1_A\ast 1_A(n)/\log n$ are always separated by some absolute constant.

SOLVED - $500

If $f:\mathbb{N}\to \{-1,+1\}$ then is it true that for every $C>0$ there exist $d,m\geq 1$ such that
\[\left\lvert \sum_{1\leq k\leq m}f(kd)\right\rvert > C?\]

SOLVED - $100

Is there a set $A\subset \mathbb{N}$ of density $0$ and a constant $c>0$ such that every graph on sufficiently many vertices with average degree $\geq c$ contains a cycle whose length is in $A$?

Bollobás [Bo77] proved that such a $c$ does exist if $A$ is an infinite arithmetic progression containing even numbers (see [71]).

Erdős was 'almost certain' that if $A$ is the set of powers of $2$ then no such $c$ exists (although he conjectured that $n$ vertices and average degree $\gg (\log n)^{C}$ suffices for some $C=O(1)$). If $A$ is the set of squares (or the set of $p\pm 1$ for $p$ prime) then he had no guess.

Solved by Verstraëte [Ve05], who gave a non-constructive proof that such a set $A$ exists.

Liu and Montgomery [LiMo20] proved that in fact this is true when $A$ is the set of powers of $2$ (more generally any set of even numbers which doesn't grow too quickly) - in particular this contradicts the previous belief of Erdős.

OPEN - $500

Let $f(n)\to \infty$ (possibly very slowly). Is there a graph of infinite chromatic number such that every finite subgraph on $n$ vertices can be made bipartite by deleting at most $f(n)$ edges?

Conjectured by Erdős, Hajnal, and Szemerédi [EHS82].

Rödl [Ro82] has proved this for hypergraphs, and also proved there is such a graph (with chromatic number $\aleph_0$) if $f(n)=\epsilon n$ for any fixed constant $\epsilon>0$.

It is open even for $f(n)=\sqrt{n}$. Erdős offered \$500 for a proof but only \$250 for a counterexample. This fails (even with $f(n)\gg n$) if the graph has chromatic number $\aleph_1$ (see [111]).

OPEN - $250

Find the value of $\lim_{k\to \infty}R(k)^{1/k}$.

Erdős offered \$100 for just a proof of the existence of this constant, without determining its value. He also offered \$1000 for a proof that the limit does not exist, but says 'this is really a joke as [it] certainly exists'. Erdős proved
\[\sqrt{2}\leq \liminf_{k\to \infty}R(k)^{1/k}\leq \limsup_{k\to \infty}R(k)^{1/k}\leq 4.\]
The upper bound has been improved to $4-\tfrac{1}{128}$ by Campos, Griffiths, Morris, and Sahasrabudhe [CGMS23].

This problem is #3 in Ramsey Theory in the graphs problem collection.

OPEN - $100

Give a constructive proof that $R(k)>C^k$ for some constant $C>1$.

Erdős gave a simple probabilistic proof that $R(k) \gg k2^{k/2}$.
Equivalently, this question asks for an explicit construction of a graph on $n$ vertices which does not contain any clique or independent set of size $\geq c\log n$ for some constant $c>0$. Cohen [Co15] (see the introduction for further history) constructed a graph on $n$ vertices which does not contain any clique or independent set of size
\[\geq 2^{(\log\log n)^{C}}\]
for some constant $C>0$. Li [Li23b] has recently improved this to
\[\geq (\log n)^{C}\]
for some constant $C>0$.

This problem is #4 in Ramsey Theory in the graphs problem collection.

OPEN - $500

Does every set of $n$ distinct points in $\mathbb{R}^2$ determine $\gg n/\sqrt{\log n}$ many distinct distances?

A $\sqrt{n}\times\sqrt{n}$ integer grid shows that this would be the best possible. Nearly solved by Guth and Katz [GuKa15] who proved that there are always $\gg n/\log n$ many distinct distances.

A stronger form (see [604]) may be true: is there a single point which determines $\gg n/\sqrt{\log n}$ distinct distances, or even $\gg n$ many such points, or even that this is true averaged over all points.

See also [661].

OPEN - $500

Does every set of $n$ distinct points in $\mathbb{R}^2$ contain at most $n^{1+O(1/\log\log n)}$ many pairs which are distance 1 apart?

The unit distance problem. In [Er94b] Erdős dates this conjecture to 1946.

This would be the best possible, as is shown by a set of lattice points. It is easy to show that there are $O(n^{3/2})$ many such pairs. The best known upper bound is $O(n^{4/3})$, due to Spencer, Szemerédi, and Trotter [SST84]. In [Er83c] and [Er85] Erdős offers \$250 for an upper bound of the form $n^{1+o(1)}$.

Part of the difficulty of this problem is explained by a result of Valtr (see [Sz16]), who constructed a metric on $\mathbb{R}^2$ and a set of $n$ points with $\gg n^{4/3}$ unit distance pairs (with respect to this metric). The methods of the upper bound proof of Spencer, Szemerédi, and Trotter [SST84] generalise to include this metric. Therefore to prove an upper bound better than $n^{4/3}$ some special feature of the Euclidean metric must be exploited.

See a survey by Szemerédi [Sz16] for further background and related results.

OPEN - $500

Let $f(n)$ be maximal such that there exists a set $A$ of $n$ points in $\mathbb{R}^2$ in which every $x\in A$ has at least $f(n)$ points in $A$ equidistant from $x$.

Is it true that $f(n)\leq n^{o(1)}$? Or even $f(n) < n^{c/\log\log n}$ for some constant $c>0$?

This is a stronger form of the unit distance conjecture (see [90]).

The set of lattice points imply $f(n) > n^{c/\log\log n}$ for some constant $c>0$. Erdős offered \$500 for a proof that $f(n) \leq n^{o(1)}$ but only \$100 for a counterexample.

It is trivial that $f(n) \ll n^{1/2}$. A result of Pach and Sharir implies $f(n) \ll n^{2/5}$.

Fishburn (personal communication to Erdős) proved that $6$ is the smallest $n$ such that $f(n)=3$ and $8$ is the smallest $n$ such that $f(n)=4$, and suggested that the lattice points may not be best example.

See also [754].

SOLVED

Suppose $n$ points in $\mathbb{R}^2$ determine a convex polygon and the set of distances between them is $\{u_1,\ldots,u_t\}$. Suppose $u_i$ appears as the distance between $f(u_i)$ many pairs of points. Then
\[\sum_i f(u_i)^2 \ll n^3.\]

SOLVED - $500

Let $x_1,\ldots,x_n\in\mathbb{R}^2$ determine the set of distances $\{u_1,\ldots,u_t\}$. Suppose $u_i$ appears as the distance between $f(u_i)$ many pairs of points. Then for all $\epsilon>0$
\[\sum_i f(u_i)^2 \ll_\epsilon n^{3+\epsilon}.\]

OPEN - $100

Given $n$ points in $\mathbb{R}^2$, no five of which are on a line, the number of lines containing four points is $o(n^2)$.

There are examples of sets of $n$ points with $\sim n^2/6$ many collinear triples and no four points on a line. Such constructions are given by Burr, Grünbaum, and Sloane [BGS74] and Füredi and Palásti [FuPa84].

Grünbaum [Gr76] constructed an example with $\gg n^{3/2}$ such lines. Erdős speculated this may be the correct order of magnitude. This is false: Solymosi and Stojaković [SoSt13] have constructed a set with no five on a line and at least \[n^{2-O(1/\sqrt{\log n})}\] many lines containing exactly four points.

See also [102]. A generalisation of this problem is asked in [588].

OPEN

Let $c>0$ and $h_c(n)$ be such that for any $n$ points in $\mathbb{R}^2$ such that there are $\geq cn^2$ lines each containing more than three points, there must be some line containing $h_c(n)$ many points. Estimate $h_c(n)$. Is it true that, for fixed $c>0$, we have $h_c(n)\to \infty$?

A problem of Erdős and Purdy. It is not even known if $h_c(n)\geq 5$ (see [101]).

It is easy to see that $h_c(n) \ll_c n^{1/2}$, and Erdős originally suggested that perhaps a similar lower bound $h_c(n)\gg_c n^{1/2}$ holds. Zach Hunter has pointed out that this is false, even replacing $>3$ points on each line with $>k$ points: consider the set of points in $\{1,\ldots,m\}^d$ where $n\approx m^d$. These intersect any line in $\ll_d n^{1/d}$ points, and have $\gg_d n^2$ many pairs of points each of which determine a line with at least $k$ points. This is a construction in $\mathbb{R}^d$, but a random projection into $\mathbb{R}^2$ preserves the relevant properties.

This construction shows that $h_c(n) \ll n^{1/\log(1/c)}$.

OPEN - $500

Let $f(n)$ be minimal such that any $f(n)$ points in $\mathbb{R}^2$, no three on a line, contain $n$ points which form the vertices of a convex $n$-gon. Prove that $f(n)=2^{n-2}+1$.

The Erdős-Klein-Szekeres 'Happy Ending' problem. The problem originated in 1931 when Klein observed that $f(4)=5$. Turán and Makai showed $f(5)=9$. Erdős and Szekeres proved the bounds
\[2^{n-2}+1\leq f(n)\leq \binom{2n-4}{n-2}+1.\]
([ErSz60] and [ErSz35] respectively). There were several improvements of the upper bound, but all of the form $4^{(1+o(1))n}$, until Suk [Su17] proved
\[f(n) \leq 2^{(1+o(1))n}.\]
The current best bound is due to Holmsen, Mojarrad, Pach, and Tardos [HMPT20], who prove
\[f(n) \leq 2^{n+O(\sqrt{n\log n})}.\]

In [Er97e] Erdős clarifies that the \$500 is for a proof, and only offers \$100 for a disproof.

This problem is #1 in Ramsey Theory in the graphs problem collection.

SOLVED

Let $p(z)=\prod_{i=1}^n (z-z_i)$ for $\lvert z_i\rvert \leq 1$. Then the area of the set where \[A=\{ z: \lvert p(z)\rvert <1\}\]
is $>n^{-O(1)}$ (or perhaps even $>(\log n)^{-O(1)}$).

Conjectured by Erdős, Herzog, and Piranian [ErHePi58]. The lower bound $\mu(A) \gg n^{-4}$ follows from a result of Pommerenke [Po61]. The stronger lower bound $\gg (\log n)^{-O(1)}$ is still open.

Wagner [Wa88] proves, for $n\geq 3$, the existence of such polynomials with \[\mu(A) \ll_\epsilon (\log\log n)^{-1/2+\epsilon}\] for all $\epsilon>0$.

OPEN

Let the van der Waerden number $W(k)$ be such that whenever $N\geq W(k)$ and $\{1,\ldots,N\}$ is $2$-coloured there must exist a monochromatic $k$-term arithmetic progression. Improve the bounds for $W(k)$ - for example, prove that $W(k)^{1/k}\to \infty$.

SOLVED - $1000

Let $r_k(N)$ be the size of the largest subset of $\{1,\ldots,N\}$ which does not contain a non-trivial $k$-term arithmetic progression. Prove that $r_k(N)=o(N)$.

Proved by Szemerédi [Sz74]. The best known bounds are due to Kelley and Meka [KeMe23] for $k=3$ (with further slight improvements in [BlSi23]), Green and Tao [GrTa17] for $k=4$, and Leng, Sah, and Sawhney [LSS24] for $k\geq 5$.

See also [3].

SOLVED - $500

Let $r_3(N)$ be the size of the largest subset of $\{1,\ldots,N\}$ which does not contain a non-trivial $3$-term arithmetic progression. Prove that $r_3(N)\ll N/(\log N)^C$ for every $C>0$.

OPEN - $10000

Let $r_k(N)$ be the largest possible size of a subset of $\{1,\ldots,N\}$ that does not contain any non-trivial $k$-term arithmetic progression. Prove an asymptotic formula for $r_k(N)$.

Erdős remarked this is 'probably unattackable at present'. In [Er97c] Erdős offered \$1000, but given that he elsewhere offered \$5000 just for (essentially) showing that $r_k(N)=o_k(N/\log N)$, that value seems odd. In [Er81] he offers \$10000, stating it is 'probably enormously difficult'.

The best known upper bounds for $r_k(N)$ are due to Kelley and Meka [KeMe23] for $k=3$, Green and Tao [GrTa17] for $k=4$, and Leng, Sah, and Sawhney [LSS24] for $k\geq 5$. An asymptotic formula is still far out of reach, even for $k=3$.

OPEN - $500

Let $A\subset (1,\infty)$ be a countably infinite set such that for all $x\neq y\in A$ and integers $k\geq 1$ we have
\[ \lvert kx -y\rvert \geq 1.\]
Does this imply that
\[\liminf \frac{\lvert A\cap [1,x]\rvert}{x}=0?\]
Or
\[\sum_{x\in A}\frac{1}{x\log x}<\infty,\]
or
\[\sum_{\substack{x <n\\ x\in A}}\frac{1}{x}=o(\log n)?\]
Perhaps even
\[\sum_{\substack{x <n\\ x\in A}}\frac{1}{x}\ll \frac{\log x}{\sqrt{\log\log x}}?\]

Note that if $A$ is a set of integers then the condition implies that $A$ is a primitive set (that is, no element of $A$ is divisible by any other), for which the convergence of $\sum_{n\in A}\frac{1}{n\log n}$ was proved by Erdős [Er35], and that $\sum_{n<x}\frac{1}{n}=o(\log x)$ was proved by Behrend [Be35].

In [Er73] mentions an unpublished proof of Haight that \[\lim \frac{\lvert A\cap [1,x]\rvert}{x}=0\] holds if the elements of $A$ are independent over $\mathbb{Q}$.

SOLVED - $250

The density of integers which have two divisors $d_1,d_2$ such that $d_1<d_2<2d_1$ exists and is equal to $1$.

OPEN - $500

If $H$ is bipartite and is $r$-degenerate, that is, every induced subgraph of $H$ has minimum degree $\leq r$, then
\[\mathrm{ex}(n;H) \ll n^{2-1/r}.\]

Conjectured by Erdős and Simonovits. Open even for $r=3$. Alon, Krivelevich, and Sudakov [AKS03] have proved
\[\mathrm{ex}(n;H) \ll n^{2-1/4r}.\]
They also prove the full Erdős-Simonovits conjectured bound if $H$ is bipartite and the maximum degree in one component is $r$.

SOLVED - $500

If $H$ is bipartite and is not $r$-degenerate, that is, there exists an induced subgraph of $H$ with minimum degree $>r$ then
\[\mathrm{ex}(n;H) > n^{2-\frac{1}{r}+\epsilon}.\]

Conjectured by Erdős and Simonovits. Disproved by Janzer [Ja21], who constructed, for any $\epsilon>0$, a $3$-regular bipartite graph $H$ such that
\[\mathrm{ex}(n;H)\ll n^{\frac{4}{3}+\epsilon}.\]

It is known that there exists some constant $c>0$ such that for large $k$
\[c\frac{k^2}{\log k}\leq R(3,k) \leq (1+o(1))\frac{k^2}{\log k}.\]
The lower bound is due to Kim [Ki95], the upper bound is due to Shearer [Sh83], improving an earlier bound of Ajtai, Komlós, and Szemerédi [AjKoSz80]. The lower bound has been improved to
\[\left(\frac{1}{4}-o(1)\right)\frac{k^2}{\log k}\]
independently by Bohman and Keevash [BoKe21] and Pontiveros, Griffiths and Morris [PGM20]. The latter collection of authors conjecture that this lower bound is the true order of magnitude.

See also [544].

Spencer [Sp77] proved
\[R(4,k) \gg (k\log k)^{5/2}.\]
Ajtai, Komlós, and Szemerédi [AKS80] proved
\[R(4,k) \ll \frac{k^3}{(\log k)^2}.\]
This is true, and was proved by Mattheus and Verstraete [MaVe23], who showed that
\[R(4,k) \gg \frac{k^3}{(\log k)^4}.\]

This problem is #5 in Ramsey Theory in the graphs problem collection.

OPEN

If $G$ is an abelian group then can there exist an exact covering of $G$ by more than one cosets of different sizes? (i.e. each element is contained in exactly one of the cosets)

A problem of Herzog and Schönheim. In [Er97c] Erdős asks this for finite (not necessarily abelian) groups.

OPEN - $500

Let $R_3(n)$ be the minimal $m$ such that if the edges of the $3$-uniform hypergraph on $m$ vertices are $2$-coloured then there is a monochromatic copy of the complete $3$-uniform hypergraph on $n$ vertices.

Is there some constant $c>0$ such that \[R_3(n) \geq 2^{2^{cn}}?\]

OPEN - $500

Given $n$ distinct points $A\subset\mathbb{R}^2$ must there be a point $x\in A$ such that
\[\#\{ d(x,y) : y \in A\} \gg n^{1-o(1)}?\]
Or even $\gg n/\sqrt{\log n}$?

The pinned distance problem, a stronger form of [89]. The example of an integer grid show that $n/\sqrt{\log n}$ would be best possible.

It may be true that there are $\gg n$ many such points, or that this is true on average. In [Er97e] Erdős offers \$500 for a solution to this problem, but it is unclear whether he intended this for proving the existence of a single such point or for $\gg n$ many such points.

In [Er97e] Erdős wrote that he initially 'overconjectured' and thought that the answer to this problem is the same as for the number of distinct distances between all pairs (see [89]), but this was disproved by Harborth. It could be true that the answers are the same up to an additive factor of $n^{o(1)}$.

The best known bound is \[\gg n^{c-o(1)},\] due to Katz and Tardos [KaTa04], where \[c=\frac{48-14e}{55-16e}=0.864137\cdots.\]

OPEN

Can the product of an arithmetic progression of integers of length $\geq 4$ be a perfect power?

Erdős believed not. Erdős and Selfridge [ErSe75] proved that the product of consecutive integers is never a perfect power.

The theory of Pell equations implies that there are infinitely many pairs $x,d$ with $(x,d)=1$ such that $x(x+d)(x+2d)$ is a square.

Considering the question of whether the product of an arithmetic progression of length $k$ can be equal to an $\ell$th power: