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A081978 Smallest triangular number with exactly n divisors, or 0 if no such number exists. 10
1, 3, 0, 6, 0, 28, 0, 66, 36, 496, 0, 276, 0, 8128, 1631432881, 120, 0, 300, 0, 528 (list; graph; refs; listen; history; text; internal format)
OFFSET

1,2

COMMENTS

a(p)=0 if p is an odd prime. If n is an odd composite number, then a(n) is a square; see A001110 for numbers that are both triangular and square. - Victoria Sapko (vsapko(AT)frc.mass.edu), Sep 28 2007

From Jon E. Schoenfield, May 25 2014: (Start)

If n is an odd semiprime, then a triangular number t having exactly n divisors must be of the form t = p^(2r) * q^(2s) = (p^r * q^s)^2, where p and q are distinct primes (p < q) and r and s are positive integers such that (2r+1)*(2s+1) = n.

If t is the k-th triangular number k(k+1)/2, it can be factored as t = u * v where

     u = k    and   v = (k+1)/2   if k is odd, or

     u = k/2  and   v = k+1       if k is even.

Since neither p nor q (each of which is greater than 1) can divide both k and (k+1)/2, or both k/2 and k+1, only four cases need to be considered:

   Case 1:  k is even, q^(2s) = k/2, p^(2r) = k+1

   Case 2:  k is even, p^(2r) = k/2, q^(2s) = k+1

   Case 3:  k is odd,  q^(2s) = k,   p^(2r) = (k+1)/2

   Case 4:  k is odd,  p^(2r) = k,   q^(2s) = (k+1)/2

These yield the following equations:

   Case 1:  2 * q^(2s) + 1 = p^(2r)

   Case 2:  2 * p^(2r) + 1 = q^(2s)

   Case 3:  2 * p^(2r) - 1 = q^(2s)

   Case 4:  2 * q^(2s) - 1 = p^(2r)

Case 1 can be ruled out: since q > p, q is odd, so 2 * q^(2s) + 1 = 3 (mod 16), but p^(2r) cannot be 3 (mod 16).

For a Case 2 solution, since q is odd, 2 * p^(2r) + 1 = q^(2s) = 1 (mod 8), so p^(2r) = 0 mod 4, so p must be even. Therefore, p = 2, and we must satisfy the equation 2 * 2^(2r) + 1 = q^(2s), whose left-hand side, which is divisible by 3 for every nonnegative integer r, is thus the square of a prime iff it is 3^2. So r=1, q=3, and s=1, yielding t = 2^2 * 3^2 = 36, which is the smallest triangular number with exactly 9 divisors, so a(9)=36.

In Case 3, both p and q must be odd, and p^r must be a number w having the property that 2*w^2 - 1 is square (i.e., (q^s)^2); every such number w is in A001653 (1, 5, 29, 169, 985, ...), and the corresponding value of q^s = sqrt(2*w^2 - 1) is in A002315 (1, 7, 41, 239, 1393, ...). (Note that A001653 and A002315 are defined with offsets of 1 and 0, respectively, so A001653(j) corresponds to A002315(j-1).) However, for odd semiprime n > 9, we need r > 1 and/or s > 1. The only nontrivial power (i.e., number of the form x^m, where both x and m are integers greater than 2) in A001653 is A001653(4) = 169 = 13^2 [Pethö], so the only Case 3 solution with r > 1 is 2 * 13^4 - 1 = 239^2, which yields the 15-divisor triangular number 13^4 * 239^2 = 1631432881 = a(15). A Case 3 solution with r = 1 and s > 1 would require 2 * p^2 - 1 = q^(2s), which is impossible since p < q.

Finally, in Case 4, both p and q must be odd, q^s must be in A001653, and p^r must be the corresponding term in A002315. However, using the only nontrivial power in A001653 (i.e., 169 = 13^2) as q^s would not yield a valid solution here because it would mean p = 239 and q = 13 (contradicting p < q). Thus, if a Case 4 solution exists for odd semiprime n > 9, we must have s = 1 and r > 1, so n = (2r+1)*(2s+1) = (2r+1)*3, where 2r+1 is prime. Such a solution requires an index j satisfying two conditions: (1) A001653(j) = q^1 = q is prime, and (2) the corresponding term A002315(j-1) = p^r is a nontrivial prime power. There are no nontrivial powers (whether of primes or composites) among the terms in A002315 below 10^5000. Moreover, the terms in A001653 are the odd-indexed terms from A000129 (Pell numbers), so condition (1) requires that j satisfy A000129(2j-1) = q. A096650 lists the indices of all prime or probable prime Pell numbers up to 100000. A check of the value A002315(j-1) corresponding to each prime or probable prime among the odd-indexed Pell numbers A000129(2j-1) up to j=50000 determined that none were nontrivial powers, so if any Case 4 solution with n > 9 exists, it will yield a triangular number t = p^(2r) * q^2 = (2 * q^2 - 1) * q^2, where q >= A000129(100001) = 3.16...*10^38277, so t > 10^153110. Since there are no nontrivial powers at all in A002315 below 10^5000, and since prime Pell numbers above A000129(50000) seem so scarce, it seems extremely unlikely that any such solution exists.

Thus, a(n) = 0 for every odd semiprime n that is not divisible by 3, and assuming that no Case 4 solution for odd semiprime n > 9 exists, the only nonzero a(n) where n is an odd semiprime greater than 9 is a(15) = 13^4 * 239^2 = 1631432881.

If j is prime and n=2j, then a(n) (if nonzero) must be of the form p^r * q, where p and q are distinct primes, r = j-1, and q is one of 3 functions of p^r:

    q = f1(p^r) = 2*p^r - 1

    q = f2(p^r) = 2*p^r + 1

    q = f3(p^r) = (p^r - 1)/2

Of these, q = f1(p^r) for all but two cases among n < 1000:

    at n=362, q = f2(p^r), with p=3;

    at n=514, q = f3(p^r), with p=331.

Conjecture: a(2j) > 0 for all j > 1. (This conjecture holds at least through n = 2j = 1000. The largest a(n) for even n <= 1000 is a(898) = 20599^448 * (2 * 20599^448 - 1) = 3.21...*10^3865.) (End)

For more known terms, and information about unknown terms, see Links. - Jon E. Schoenfield, May 26 2014

LINKS

Table of n, a(n) for n=1..20.

Attila Pethö, The Pell sequence contains only trivial perfect powers, Kossuth Lajos University, Department of Computer Science, H-4010 Debrecen, P.O. Box 12, Hungary, Dedicated to V.T. Sós and A. Hajnal, May 18 2008.

Jon E. Schoenfield, Table of n, a(n) for known terms in n = 1..100, with notes on unknown terms

EXAMPLE

a(2)=3 because the smallest triangular number with 2 divisors is T(2)=3.

CROSSREFS

Cf. A000129, A001110, A001653, A002315, A063440, A081979, A242585.

Sequence in context: A007386 A007385 A307644 * A117784 A257896 A268978

Adjacent sequences:  A081975 A081976 A081977 * A081979 A081980 A081981

KEYWORD

nonn,hard

AUTHOR

Amarnath Murthy, Apr 03 2003

EXTENSIONS

More terms from Victoria Sapko (vsapko(AT)frc.mass.edu), Sep 28 2007

a(14) corrected and a(20) added by Jon E. Schoenfield, May 11 2014

STATUS

approved

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Last modified October 18 12:18 EDT 2019. Contains 328160 sequences. (Running on oeis4.)