sieve of Eratosthenes
The sieve of Eratosthenes is the number-theoretic version of the principle of inclusion-exclusion. In the typical application of the sieve of Eratosthenes one is concerned with estimating the number of elements of a set that are not divisible by any of the primes in the set .
If we set then (1) is the characteristic function (http://planetmath.org/CharacteristicFunction) of the set of numbers that are not divisible by any of the primes in . If we set to be the number of elements of that are divisible by , then the number of elements of that are not divisible by any primes in can be expressed as
Example. To establish an upper bound on the number of primes less than we set and . Then (2) counts the number of integers between and that are not divisible by any prime less than . Hence the number of primes not exceeding is
By Mertens’ estimate for the main term is
where is Euler’s constant. Setting we obtain
The obtained bound is clearly inferior to the prime number theorem, but the method applies to problems that are not tractable by the other techniques.
The error term of the order can be significantly reduced by using more robust sifting procedures such as Brun’s (http://planetmath.org/BrunsPureSieve) and Selberg’s sieves. For detailed exposition of various sieve methods see monographs [1, 2, 3].
- 1 George Greaves. Sieves in number theory. Springer, 2001. http://www.emis.de/cgi-bin/zmen/ZMATH/en/quick.html?type=html&an=1003.11044Zbl 1003.11044.
- 2 H. Halberstam and H.-E. Richert. Sieve methods, volume 4 of London Mathematical Society Monographs. 1974. http://www.emis.de/cgi-bin/zmen/ZMATH/en/quick.html?type=html&an=0298.10026Zbl 0298.10026.
- 3 C. Hooley. Application of sieve methods to the theory of numbers, volume 70 of Cambridge Tracts in Mathematics. Cambridge Univ. Press, 1976. http://www.emis.de/cgi-bin/zmen/ZMATH/en/quick.html?type=html&an=0327.10044Zbl 0327.10044.
|Title||sieve of Eratosthenes|
|Date of creation||2013-03-22 14:07:40|
|Last modified on||2013-03-22 14:07:40|
|Last modified by||bbukh (348)|