0 solved out of 7 shown

OPEN

Let $\phi(n)$ be the Euler totient function and $\phi_k(n)$ be the iterated $\phi$ function, so that $\phi_1(n)=\phi(n)$ and $\phi_k(n)=\phi(\phi_{k-1}(n))$. Let
\[f(n) = \min \{ k : \phi_k(n)=1\}.\]
Does $f(n)/\log n$ have a distribution function? Is $f(n)/\log n$ almost always constant? What can be said about the largest prime factor of $\phi_k(n)$ when, say, $k=\log\log n$?

Pillai [Pi29] was the first to investigate this function, and proved
\[\log_3 n < f(n) < \log_2 n\]
for all large $n$. Shapiro [Sh50] proved that $f(n)$ is essentially multiplicative.

Erdős, Granville, Pomerance, and Spiro [EGPS90] have proved that the answer to the first two questions is yes, conditional on a form of the Elliott-Halberstam conjecture.

It is likely true that, if $k\to \infty$ however slowly with $n$, then for almost $n$ the largest prime factor of $\phi_k(n)$ is $\leq n^{o(1)}$.

OPEN

How many iterations of $n\mapsto \phi(n)+1$ are needed before a prime is reached? Can infinitely many $n$ reach the same prime? What is the density of $n$ which reach any fixed prime?

A problem of Finucane. One can also ask about $n\mapsto \sigma(n)-1$.

The number of iterations required is A039651 in the OEIS.

OPEN

Let $g_1=g(n)=n+\phi(n)$ and $g_k(n)=g(g_{k-1}(n))$. For which $n$ and $r$ is it true that $g_{k+r}(n)=2g_k(n)$ for all large $k$?

The known solutions to $g_{k+2}(n)=2g_k(n)$ are $n=10$ and $n=94$. Selfridge and Weintraub found solutions to $g_{k+9}(n)=9g_k(n)$ and Weintraub found
\[g_{k+25}(3114)=729g_k(3114)\]
for all $k\geq 6$.

OPEN

Let $\sigma_1(n)=\sigma(n)$, the sum of divisors function, and $\sigma_k(n)=\sigma(\sigma_{k-1}(n))$. Is it true that, for every $m,n$, there exist some $i,j$ such that $\sigma_i(m)=\sigma_j(n)$?

In [Er79d] Erdős attributes this conjecture to van Wijngaarden, who told it to Erdős in the 1950s.

That is, there is (eventually) only one possible sequence that the iterated sum of divisors function can settle on. Selfridge reports numerical evidence which suggests the answer is no, but Erdős and Graham write 'it seems unlikely that anything can be proved about this in the near future'.

OPEN

Let $\omega(n)$ count the number of distinct primes dividing $n$. Are there infinitely many $n$ such that, for all $m<n$, we have $m+\omega(m) \leq n$?

Can one show that there exists an $\epsilon>0$ such that there are infinitely many $n$ where $m+\epsilon \omega(m)\leq n$ for all $m<n$?

In [Er79] Erdős calls such an $n$ a 'barrier' for $\omega$. Some other natural number theoretic functions (such as $\phi$ and $\sigma$) have no barriers because they increase too rapidly. Erdős believed that $\omega$ should have infinitely many barriers. In [Er79d] he proves that $F(n)=\prod k_i$, where $n=\prod p_i^{k_i}$, has infinitely many barriers (in fact the set of barriers has positive density in the integers).

Erdős also believed that $\Omega$, the count of the number of prime factors with multiplicity), should have infinitely many barriers. Selfridge found the largest barrier for $\Omega$ which is $<10^5$ is $99840$.

In [ErGr80] this problem is suggested as a way of showing that the iterated behaviour of $n\mapsto n+\omega(n)$ eventually settles into a single sequence, regardless of the starting value of $n$ (see also [412] and [414]).

Erdős and Graham report it could be attacked by sieve methods, but 'at present these methods are not strong enough'.

OPEN

Let $h_1(n)=h(n)=n+\tau(n)$ (where $\tau(n)$ counts the number of divisors of $n$) and $h_k(n)=h(h_{k-1}(n))$. Is it true, for any $m,n$, there exist $i$ and $j$ such that $h_i(m)=h_j(n)$?