Products of differences in finite fields

Combinatorics Seminar
Friday, November 11, 2016 - 15:00
1 hour (actually 50 minutes)
Skiles 005
University of Gerogia
An expander polynomial in F_p, the finite field with p elements, is a polynomial f(x_1,...,x_n) such that there exists an absolute c>0 with the property that for every set A in F_p (of cardinality not particularly close to p) the cardinality of f(A,...,A) = {f(a_1,...,a_n) : a in A} is at least |A|^{1+c}. Given an expander polynomial, a very interesting question is to determine a threshold T so that |A|> T implies that |f(A,...,A)| contains, say, half the elements of F_p and so is about as large as it can be. For a large number of "natural appearing" expander polynomials like f(x,y,z) = xy+z and f(x,y,z) = x(y+z), the best known threshold is T= p^{2/3}. What is interesting is that there are several proofs of this threshold of very different “depth” and complexity. We will discuss why for the expander polynomial f(x,y,z,w) = (x-y)(z-w), where f(A,A,A,A) consists of the product of differences of elements of A, one may take T = p^{5/8}. We will also discuss the more complicated setting where A is a subset of a not necessarily prime order finite field.