In number theory
, the arithmetic derivative
, or number derivative
, is a function defined for integers
, based on prime factorization
, by analogy with the product rule
for the derivative of a function
that is used in mathematical analysis
For natural numbers defined as follows:
- (Leibnitz rule).
To coincide with the Leibnitz rule 1′ is defined to be 0, as is 0′. Explicitly, assume that
where p1, ..., pk are distinct primes and e1, ..., ek are positive integers. Then
The arithmetic derivative also preserves the power rule (for primes):
where p is prime and a is a positive integer. For example,
The sequence of number derivatives for k = 0, 1, 2, ... begins :
- 0, 0, 1, 1, 4, 1, 5, 1, 12, 6, 7, 1, 16, 1, 9, ...
E.J. Barbeau was the first to formalize this definition. He extended it to all integers by proving that uniquely defines the derivative over the integers. Barbeau also further extended it to rational numbers. Victor Ufnarovski and Bo Åhlander expanded it to certain irrationals. In these extensions, the formula above still applies, but the exponents ei are allowed to be arbitrary rational numbers.
Relevance to number theory
Ufnarovski and Åhlander have detailed the function's connection to famous number-theoretic conjectures like the twin prime conjecture, the prime triples conjecture, and Goldbach's conjecture. For example, Goldbach's conjecture would imply the existence of an n so that n' = 2k for every k, and the twin prime conjecture would imply that there are infinitely many k for which k'' = 1.
- E. J. Barbeau, "Remark on an arithmetic derivative", Canadian Mathematical Bulletin Vol. 4 (1961), 117–122.
- Victor Ufnarovski and Bo Åhlander, "How to Differentiate a Number", Journal of Integer Sequences Vol. 6 (2003), Article 03.3.4.
- Arithmetic Derivative, Planet Math, accessed 04:15, 9 April 2008 (UTC)
- L. Westrick. Investigations of the Number Derivative.
- Peterson, I. Math Trek: Deriving the Structure of Numbers.