A-Team of Math: Unraveling the Critical Link Between Addition and Sets”

Exploring the Groundbreaking Discoveries That Illuminate the Intersection of Addition and Set Theory” A group consisting of four mathematicians with a reputation, comprising two Fields medalists were able to prove a theory that was described as the “holy the grail of the field of additive combinatorics.” Within one year, the loose team confirmed the theory using an algorithm for computer-aided proof.

In a random set of numbers, adding may go off the rails.

Combine every pair in this set and you’ll end having a new list that’s likely to contain many more numbers than you began with. Start with a set of random numbers and this set (called”the sumset”) will contain around 50 parts. Begin by adding 100 while the final sumset could contain around 5,000. 1,000 random numbers would create a sumset of 500,000 numbers long.

However, if your original set is structured it is possible that the sumset will be less than this. Think about a different 10-number set which includes all even numbers between 2 and 20. Since different pairs make up one number – – 10, 12, is identical to the numbers 8+14 and 6+16The sumset contains 19 numbers instead of 50. The difference gets more significant as sets become bigger. A list that is structured with 1,000 numbers may contain a sumset of just 2,000 numbers.


in the early 1960s a mathematician by the name of Gregory Freeman started studying sets with tiny sumsets to understand the relationship between the concept of addition and the structure of a set — an essential connection that is the foundation of the mathematical discipline of combinatorics with additive components. 

Freiman achieved impressive results in proving that a set that has a tiny sumset needs to be contained within an even larger set of elements that are spaced out in a regular pattern. However, the field then slowed. 

“Freiman’s original proof was extremely difficult to understand until the point that no one was 100% certain that it was true. Therefore, it didn’t make the impression that it could have had,” said Timothy Gowers, a mathematician from the College de France and the University of Cambridge and a Fields medalist. “But the next day, Imre Ruzsa came onto the stage.”

In a set of two papers in the 1990s, Ruzsa re-proved Freiman’s theorem by presenting a new and elegant argument. In the following years, Katalin Marton is a well-known Hungarian mathematician, who died in the year 2019, rethought the concept of what a tiny sumset can tell us regarding the structure and composition of the initial set. She changed the types of elements in the set as well as the kind of structure mathematicians should be looking for, believing that this will allow mathematicians to get more details. Marton’s conjecture has connections with proof-systems, theory of coding as well as cryptography. It also occupies an enviable position in the field of additive combinatorics.

Her theory “feels like one of the fundamental things we don’t know,” said Ben Green an mathematician from Oxford University. University of Oxford. It “just kind of backed up a lot of things that I’m passionate about.”

Green collaborated together with Gowers, Freddie Manners from at the University of California, San Diego together with Freddie Manners of the University of California, San Diego Terence Tao, who was a Fields medalist in the University of California, Los Angeles to form what Israeli writer and mathematician Gil Kalai called an ” A-team” of mathematicians. They proved their version that posed the question in a work that was published on the 9th of November.

Nets Katz is an academic mathematician from Rice University who was not involved in the research described the proof as “beautifully easy” and “more or less from the air.”

Tao began an attempt to formalize the proof using the language of Lean, the programming language that aids mathematicians test theorems. Within a matter of weeks, the effort was successful. The morning of the Tuesday, December 5th, Tao announced that Lean was able to prove the theory without “sorrys” -which is the usual declaration that occurs when a computer cannot verify a specific procedure. 

This is the most prominent usage of these tools for verification from 2021 it marks an important turning point in the way mathematicians compose proofs in terms that computers can comprehend. If these tools are made simple enough for mathematicians to utilize and use, they could be able to replace the long and cumbersome procedure of peer-review, according Gowers.

The components of the proof were simmering for years. Gowers thought of the initial steps in the early 2000s. However, it took 20 years for it to demonstrate the concept of what Kalai described as “a holy”grail” in the field.

The in-group

To grasp Marton’s conjecture it is helpful to understand the concept of a group. It is a mathematical entity that is composed of the set and the operation. Consider the integers as an infinite set of numbersand the process of addition. When you add two numbers together to get another number, you will receive an additional integer. The addition process also follows certain additional rules of group operations such as associativity. This allows you to change the order of operations. For example: 3 + (5 + 2)) equals (3 + 5) + 2.

Within groups, you’ll occasionally come across smaller sets that fulfill all the characteristics of the group. For instance, if you add more even numbers to be able to get an even number. Even numbers are an entire group and are therefore an integer subgroup. The odd numbers, in contrary, aren’t an element of a subgroup. 

If you combine the odd two numbers you’ll get an even number, which is not included in any of the initial set. However, you can obtain every odd number by adding 1 to each even number. A subgroup that has been shifted in this way is known as coset. 

It may not possess all the features of a subgroup, however it maintains the subgroup’s structure in various ways. As an example, similar to other even-numbered numbers odd numbers are also equally spaced.

Marton believed that if you have a set we’ll refer to as A composed of elements of a group whose sumset is not larger that Aitself and there is a subgroup, name it G that has an exclusive property. You can shift G several times to create cosets and the cosets when taken as a whole, comprise the initial group of A. Furthermore, she believed that the amount of cosets won’t increase much faster than the amount of the totalShe believed that it would be linked by the polynomial factor rather than an exponential growth.

This could sound like an extremely technical question. However, since it connects an easy test that asks what happens when you combine just two elements of the set? In relation to the overall design of the subgroup it is crucial for computer scientists and mathematicians. 

Similar concepts show as computer scientists attempt to decrypt messages in order that they can only decode part from the text at a a time. Also, it is used in probabilistically-checkable proofs, a kind of proof that computer scientists can prove through a simple check of tiny bits of information. 

In all of these instances you are working with only two or three points within an arrangement that is decoding just the smallest bits of an extended message, or checking the validity of a tiny portion of a more complex proofand draw a conclusion about a bigger, more complex structure.

“You can pretend that all things are a part of a larger set of people,” said Tom Sanders an ex- student at Gowers and a coworker from Green’s department at Oxford or, “get everything you wanted by observing the existence of many simultaneous coincidences. Both views are helpful.”

Ruzsa has published Marton’s hypothesis in 1999 and gave her all the credit. “She was able to come up with that conjecture without the help of Freiman and possibly earlier than our time,” he said. “That’s the reason why when I spoke with her I opted to call the conjecture hers.” However, mathematicians are now referring to the conjecture as the polynomial Freiman Ruzsa conjecture or PFR.


Like the majority of mathematical objects, have various types. Marton thought that her hypothesis is valid for all groups. It is yet to be proved. The latest paper confirms that it is a specific kind of group that takes as its components the binary lists, such as (0 1, 1 1, 0). 

Since computers operate in binary the group is essential in the field of computer science. However, it’s also useful in the field of additive combinatorics. “It’s similar to a toy setting that allows you to sort of play and test different things,” Sanders said. “The algebra is better” as opposed to working complete numbers, he said.

The lists have a fixed length and each entry can be either 0 or 1. Then, you add them up by combining each entry with the list’s counterpart following the rule of 1 + 1 equals 1 =. Thus, (0 1, 1 1 1, 1) + (1 1, 1 1 1, 1)) = (1 0, 0 0 1, 1). PFR is a method to determine the way a set could appear like even if it’s not quite a subgroup, but it does have certain features that are similar to a group.

For PFR to be precise Consider that you have the binary lists known as A. Take each element from the list and then add them all up. The resulting sums form the set of A A, also known as the sum of A, also known asA + A. If the components in the sum are selected randomly that means the majority of sums are distinct from each other. 

When there’s more than kelements that are present in A this means there will be about K two/2 components in the set. If the size of kis huge — say 1,000, for instance the number 2/2 is much larger than the k. If A is a subgroup, each element in A plus A is contained in A which means A + A and A is identical to A itself.

PFR analyzes sets that aren’t random, however they aren’t subgroups of any kind either. In these sets there are fewer elements, and the size of the set AAis quite small, like, say 10, 100 k or 100 000. “It’s very useful if your concept of structure is far higher than simply having an algebraic form” explained Shachar Lovett an expert in computer science from the University of California, San Diego.

Mathematicians have identified all the sets of obeyed this property “are quite similar to real subgroups” Tao said. “That was the premise that there wasn’t any other fake groups circulating in the ether.”

Freiman had proved the same idea in his initial research. in 1999 Ruzsa expanded Freiman’s theory by extending it to the creation in binary lists. He demonstrated that if A + A has a number of components, A plus A will be a continuous number that A A, A is contained in an element of a subgroup.

The theorem of Ruzsa’s required the subgroup to be massive. Marton’s thought was that instead of being contained in a single subgroup it could be comprised in a polynomial amount of cosets in a subgroup which is not larger than the initial subset of A.

“I’m a Proficient Idea when I Have an Idea that is Real’

In the early millennium, Gowers stumbled across Ruzsa’s proofs of Freiman’s Theorem as he worked on a problem regarding sets with strings of numbers that are evenly spaced. “I required something like this to get structural information from less information about a number of sets,” Gowers said. “I was extremely fortunate that just a few days before, Ruzsa produced this absolutely stunning evidence.”

Gowers began to formulate a possible proof of the polynomial variant of this conjecture. The idea was to begin with an A group of Awhose sumset was small, then slowly transform the set Ainto a subgroup. If he could prove the resulting subgroup was identical to the initial A set A it would be easy to conclusively conclude that the theory was valid. 

Gowers was able to share his thoughts with his colleagues, but no one was able to transform them into a convincing proof. Although his strategy was effective in some instances however, in other instances the strategies led to the researcherfurther further away from his intended result of the polynomial FreimanRuzsa conjecture.

In the end, the field was able to move on. It was in 2012 that Sanders nearly proved that PFR. However, the number of subgroups that he shifted that he required was greater than the polynomial, but just a tiny amount. “Once you’ve done that was done, it became less of a pressing issue, but it was nevertheless a wonderful problem with which I have an immense appreciation,” Gowers said.

However, Gowers ideas were a part of the fabric in the memories of his colleagues as well as hard disks. “There’s an idea that’s real,” said Green, who was an instructor of Gowers. “I have a good idea when I can see an idea that is real.” In the summer of this year, Green, Manners and Tao finally freed Gowers ideas from confines.

Green, Tao and Manners had written 37 pages in collaboration before they decided to revisit Gowers ideas from 20 years ago. In the June 23 report they had succeeded in utilizing the concept of the field of probability theory, known as random variables to explore what the structures of set using small sumsets. 

Through this method they could alter their sets with greater precision. “Dealing using random variables can be more flexible than working using sets” Manners said. A random variable “I can alter some of my probabilities an amount of a tiny amount which could result in an improved random variable.”

Based on this probabilistic view, Green, Manners and Tao were able to shift from working with the quantity of elements in a set, to a measure of the information that is contained in an undetermined variable, also known as Entropy. Entropy wasn’t a new concept in additive combinatorics. 

Actually, Tao had attempted to make the concept more popular in the latter part of 2000. However, no one had tried to apply it to the conjecture of Freiman-Ruzsa polynomial. Green, Manners and Tao discovered that it was a powerful formula. However, they couldn’t confirm the hypothesis.

As the group discussed their findings They realized they had created an environment where Gowers abandoned ideas could thrive. If they could measure the dimensions of a set based on its entropy rather than the number of elements in it and the technical specifications could result in a better outcome. “At certain points, we realized that the old ideas of Tim who worked with us for 20 years were more likely to succeed than the ideas we were attempting,” Tao said. “And therefore, we brought Tim back to join the project. Then, all the pieces came quite nicely.”

There were a lot of aspects to be determined before the proof was put together. “It was kind of silly that we all were so distracted by other activities,” Manners said. “You want to share this fantastic result and announce it to the world about it, however, you actually need to finish those midterms.”

In the end, the group was able to complete their work and on November 9 the group published their research paper. They showed that the sum of A plus A is not more than K times the size of A which means that A could be covered by not more than k12 shifts in the subgroup which is not larger than A. This could be a huge amount of shifting. But this is an exponential, so it won’t increase exponentially when the k grows, like it would be if the k was within the exponent.

A few days later, Tao began in the process of formalizing his proof. He was the project’s formalization leader by working in conjunction, using the version-control program GitHub to collaborate on the contributions of 25 people around the globe. They utilized a tool known as Blueprint created in the late Patrick Massot, Mathematical scientist at Paris-Saclay University, to organize the effort to translate the language Tao described as “Mathematical the language of English” in computer programming. 

Blueprint is able to also, among other things generate an chart that shows the different stages of the proof. After all the bubbles had been covered with the Tao described as an “lovely hue of green” it was clear that the group had completed. They found a few tiny errors in the report In an email note, Tao noted that “the most mathematically fascinating parts of the study were easy to write down, however it was the more technical steps that required the most time.”

Marton died a couple of days before the famous theory was proven and the proof was echoed by her research on information theory and entropy. “Everything performs better when it is done within this framework of entropy than using the model I was using to use,” Gowers said. “To myself, this appears to be a bit mysterious.”

Correction 13 December 2023. A link in this story that refers to Imre Ruzsa led to a page that is not about the mathematician, but instead about philosophers of identical name. This link has been changed.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *