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Monday, August 9, 2010

Number of solutions to modular equation

Prove that there are infinitely many prime numbers $p$ such that there are exactly $p^2$ integer triples $(x,y,z)$ such that $0 \leq x,y,z < p$ and $x^2+y^2 - 2010z^3$ is divisible by $p$.

Solution

We will first show that any prime that has form $p = 6k-1$ and does not divide 2010 satisfies the given condition.

First, let $p$ be such prime. Suppose there are $a,b \in \{ 1, \dots, p-1 \}$ such that $a^3 \equiv b^3 \mod p$.

Since $b^{p-1} \equiv 1 \mod p$ then let $c \equiv ab^{p-2} \mod p$, so that we have $bc \equiv a \mod p$.

Then $b^3c^3 \equiv a^3 \equiv b^3 \mod p$ which means $b^3c^3 \equiv b^3 \mod p$ which then means $c^3 \equiv 1 \mod p$ (since $(b,p) = 1$).

Because $c^{p-1} = c^{6k-2} \equiv 1 \mod p$ and $c^{6k-3} = c^{3(2k-1)} \equiv 1 \mod p$, then we must have $c \equiv 1 \mod p$, which means $a \equiv b \mod p$.

In summary, we've shown that $a^3 \equiv b^3 \Rightarrow a \equiv b \mod p$. This means that the set $\{1^3, \dots, p^3 \} \mod p$ is the same as set $\{ 1, \dots, p \} \mod p$. So given any arbitrary $x$ and $y$, we can find exactly one $z$ such that $z^3 \equiv 2010^{-1} (x^2+y^2) \mod p$. Since there are $p^2$ possible pairs for $(x,y)$, then there are also $p^2$ possible triples for $(x,y,z)$.

Now we show that there are infinitely many primes of the form $6k-1$ which would mean that there must be infinitely many primes of the form $6k-1$ that do not divide 2010.

Note that any prime above 3 must have form $6k+1$ or $6k-1$. If there are only finite number of primes of the form $6k-1$, say $p_1, p_2, \dots, p_n$, consider the number $N = 6p_1p_2 \dots p_n - 1$.
For each $i$, $p_i$ does not divide $N$ because otherwise $p_i$ would also have to divide 1, a contradiction. So $N$ is not divisible by any of the $p_i$s, which means all prime factors of $N$ must be of the form $6k+1$. That means, $N \equiv 1 \mod 6$, a contradiction.