The Möbius function plays a central role in number theory; both the prime number theorem and the Riemann Hypothesis are naturally formulated in terms of the amount of cancellations one gets when summing the Möbius function. In a recent joint work with Maksym Radziwill we have shown that the sum of the Möbius function exhibits cancellation in "almost all intervals" of arbitrarily slowly increasing length. This goes beyond what was previously known conditionally on the Riemann Hypothesis. Our result holds in fact in much greater generality, and has several further applications, some of which I will discuss in the talk. For instance the general result implies that between a fixed number of consecutive squares there is always an integer composed of only "small" prime factors. This settles a conjecture on "smooth" or "friable" numbers and is related to the running time of Lenstra's factoring algorithm.
- Number Theory Seminar