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Michael Mossinghoff : Oscillation problems in number theory



The Liouville function λ(n) is the completely multiplicative arithmetic function defined by λ(p) = −1 for each prime p. Pólya investigated its summatory function L(x) = Σnx λ(n), and showed for instance that the Riemann hypothesis would follow if L(x) never changed sign for large x. While it has been known since the work of Haselgrove in 1958 that L(x) changes sign infinitely often, oscillations in L(x) and related functions remain of interest due to their connections to the Riemann hypothesis and other questions in number theory. We describe some connections between the zeta function and a number of oscillation problems, including Pólya's question and some of its weighted relatives, and, in joint work with T. Trudgian, describe a method involving substantial computation that establishes new lower bounds on the size of these oscillations.

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