September 18, 2012
The ABC Conjecture has recently been in the news on math blogs because of the claim that it has been proved by Shinichi Mochizuki. Though the proof is being taken seriously, due to Mochizuki’s reputation, it is five hundred pages long, and confirmation will take several months. The conjecture states that given two positive integers a and b and their sum c with no common factors, the product of the distinct prime factors of abc is rarely much smaller than c.
The radical of a number n is the product of the distinct prime factors of n; for instance, rad(18) = 6 because 18 = 2 × 3 × 3 and, eliminating the duplicate occurrence of 3, 2 × 3 = 6. The quality of an (a,b,c) triple is given by q(a,b,c) = log(c) / log(rad(abc)). The precise statement of the ABC conjecture is that for every ε > 0 there are only finitely many triples (a,b,c) with a and b coprime positive integers and a + b = c such that rad(abc)1+ε < c, or equivalently, such that q(a,b,c) > 1.
Your task is to write the functions rad and q and find all the triples with c < 1000 for which q(a,b,c) > 1. When you are finished, you are welcome to read or run a suggested solution, or to post your own solution or discuss the exercise in the comments below.
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