Prime Partitions

October 19, 2012

Today’s exercise is my penance for a wrong answer at /r/math.

A partition of a number is a way to add numbers to equal the target number; for instance, 1+1+2+3+5 is a partition of 11. We studied partitions in two previous exercises. If all the numbers used in the summation are prime, it is known as a prime partition; for instance, 2+2+2+2+3 = 2+3+3 = 2+2+2+5 = 3+3+5 = 2+2+7 = 11 are the 6 prime partitions for 11. The number of prime partitions of a number is a function known by the Greek letter kappa in number theory, so κ(11)=6. You can see the sequence of prime partitions at A000607.

The usual computation of the number of prime partitions is done in two parts. The first part is a function to compute the sum of the prime factors of a number; for instance, 42=2·3·7, so sopf(42)=12. Note that sopf(12)=5 because the sum is over only the distinct factors of a number, so even though 12=2·2·3, only one 2 is included in the calculation of the sum. You can see the sequence of the sums of the distinct primes dividing n at A008472.

Given the function to compute the sum of the prime factors of a number, the number of prime partitions can be calculated using the following formula:

\kappa(n) = \frac{1}{n}\left(\mathrm{sopf}(n) + \sum_{j=1}^{n-1} \mathrm{sopf}(j) \cdot \kappa(n-j)\right)

Your task is to write a function that computes the number of prime partitions of a number; use it to calculate κ(1000). 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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