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# MATH2301

## Workbook on Number Theory

1. Division algorithm

2. Prime factorisation

3. Modular arithmetic

## With MATH1061 under your belt, this is not

your first exposure to number theory. How-
ever, this time around, focus will be on proofs
of some main theorems and quick review of

## Notation. Throughout this workbook Z de-

notes the integers

{· · · , −2, −1, 0, 1, 2, · · · }.
Moreover, N denotes positive integers

{1, 2, · · · }.
1. Division algorithm

## Definition 1.1. Let a, b ∈ Z. We say a

divides b if there exists another integer c ∈ Z
such that
b = ac.
In this case, we write

a | b.

Examples 1.1.

(i) 4 | 12

(ii) 6 6 |15

## (iii) n | 0 for all n ∈ Z.

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Theorem 1.1. Let a, b ∈ Z and suppose
b 6= 0. Then there exists unique integers q
and r such that

a = bq + r
and
0 ≤ r < b.

## Terminology 1.1. The integer q is called

the quotient and r is called the remainder.

Proof of existence

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Proof of uniqueness

3
Exercise 1.1.

not both.

divides a.

## (iii) Suppose a | b and a | c. Then a | bx + cy

for all integers x, y.

## (iv) If a | b and b 6= 0, then |a| ≤ |b|. Thus,

only finitely many integers divide a given in-
teger b.

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Definition 1.2. Let a and b be non-zero
integer. The greatest common divisor of a
and b, denoted by gcd(a, b), is the largest
integer d dividing both a and b.

## Comment 1.1 Alternatively, d = gcd(a, b) if

the following three conditions hold:

(i) d | a;

(ii) d | b;

## (iii) If c | a and c | b, then c ≤ d.

Example 1.1

(i) gcd(21, 6) =

(ii) gcd(14, 2) =

(iv) gcd(a, 0) =

## (v) gcd(a, −b) = gcd(a, b).

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Exercise 1.1. Let a = bq +r be as in the di-
vision algorithm. Then gcd(a, b) = gcd(b, r).

## Algorithm 1.1: Finding gcd.

Input a ≥ b ≥ 0, a 6= 0.

## While b > 0 set a := b and b := r

return r.

Example 1.2

gcd(2234, 1020) =

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2. Primes

## Definition 2.1. Two integers a and b are

said to be coprime if gcd(a, b) = 1.

## Comment 2.1. a and b are coprime if and

only if they have no common factor.

Example 2.1

Exercise 2.1.

## (i) a and b are coprime if and only if there

exists integers x and y such that ax + by = 1.

## (iu) Suppose a and b are coprime. Then

a | c, and b | c =⇒ ab | c.

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Definition 2.2.

## (i) An integer p ≥ 2 is called prime if its only

divisors are 1 and p.

## (ii) An integer q is said to be a prime power

if q = pa for some positive integer a.

composite .

## Theorem 2.1 (Euclid). There exists in-

finitely many primes

Proof.

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Theorem 2.2 (Fundamental Theorem of
Arithmetic) Every integer a can be written
as
a = p1 p2 · · · pk
where p1 ≤ p2 ≤ · · · ≤ pk are prime numbers.
Moreover, this presentation is unique.

Proof of Existence

9
Proof of Uniqueness

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in slightly more general setting; e.g. in
√ √
Z[ −5] = {a + b −5 | a, b ∈ Z}.
For instance,
√ √
2.3 = (1 + −5)(1 − −5) = 6.

## Theorem 2.3. The number of primes less

than n is asymptotic to logn n .
e

## (i) Distribution of primes is intimately re-

lated to Riemann Hypothesis.

twin primes.

## (iii) It is not known if every even integer

greater than 2 can be written as a sum of
two primes.

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3. Modular Arithmetic

## Definition 3.1. Let a, b ∈ Z. We say a is

congruent to b modulo n if

n | a − b.
In this case, we write a ≡ b mod n.

Examples 3.1

(i) 21 ≡ 3 mod 6.

## (iv) 10n ≡ 1 mod 9 for all n ≥ 0.

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(i) a ≡ b mod n if and only if a and b have
the same remainder under division by n.
(ii) a ≡ 0 mod n if and only if n | a.

## Exercise 3.1. Show that congruence mod-

ulo n defines an equivalence relation on Z.

## We let [a] denote the equivalence class con-

taining the integer a. Then [a] is the set
of all integers whose remainders modulo n
equals a.

Examples 3.2
(i) If n = 2 then [1] is the set of all odd num-
bers and [0] is the set of all even numbers.
(ii) If n = 5, then
[2] = {· · · , −8, −3, 2, 7, 12, · · · }

## (iii) If n = 2 then [1] = [−1] = [3] = [2017].

(iv) If n = 5 then [1] = [−4] = [2016].
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Division algorithm tells us

## Z = {[0], [1], · · · , [n − 1]}.

Let us call this a new set Zn. We now define

[a].[b] = [a.b].

Examples 3.3

## (i) In Z2, [1] + [1] = [0]. This is just saying

that the sum of two odd integers is even.

## (iv) In Z15, [10] + [10] =

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in Zn is well-defined; i.e. if [a] = [b] and
[c] = [d] then

## [a + b] = [c + d], [ab] = [cd].

Proof.

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Question 3.1 What about subtracting in
Zn?

## Definition 3.2 Let [a] ∈ Zn. An inverse for

[a] is an element [x] ∈ Zn such that

Examples 3.3

[3]−1 = [4].

called units.

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Theorem 3.2

## 1. Let n > 1. If [a] ∈ Zn is invertible then

its inverse is unique.

## 2. If [a] is invertible, then so is [a]−1. More-

over, inverse of [a]−1 equals [a].

Proof.

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Theorem 3.3 Let n > 1. Then [a] ∈ Zn is
invertible if and only if gcd(a, n) = 1.

Proof.

18
Corollary 3.1 Let p be a prime number and
suppose a 6= 0. Then [a] is invertible in Zp.

## Comment 3.2 We see that we can add,

subtract, multiply, and divide (by non-zero
elements) in Zp. We say that Zp is a field.

Exercise 3.2.

## (i) Suppose gcd(a, n) = 1. Show that the

equation [a][x] = [b] has a unique solution.

## Notation 3.1 Sometimes we drop the bracket

in the notation and write a instead of [a] for
an element of Zn.
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We have discussed congruence equations of
the form ax = b in Zn. We now want to
discuss systems of congruence equations.

## Example 3.4. The system

x≡1 mod 3

x≡2 mod 5

x≡3 mod 7
is solvable. Indeed, x = 52 is a solution. Is
this the only solution?

20
Theorem 3.4 (Chinese Remainder The-
orem). Let m1, · · · , mk ∈ N be pairwise co-
prime positive integers. Then every system
of equations

## x ≡ ai mod mi, 1≤i≤k

is solvable. Moreover, the solution is unique
modulo m1m2 · · · mk .

Proof

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Proof continued.

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Notation 3.2. We let Z× n denote the set of
units (=invertible) elements in Zn.

## Exercise 3.3 Show that if a ∈ Zn is invert-

ible, then there exists an integer k such that
ak = 1.

## Definition 3.4 The order of an element a ∈

Z×n , denoted by o(a), is the smallest positive
integer k such that ak = 1.

Example 3.6.

## (ii) The order of 4 ∈ Z11 is

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Theorem 3.5. Let a ∈ Z× m
n . Then a = 1 if
and only if m is a multiple of o(a).

Proof.

24
Exercise 3.3. Show that if a ∈ Z×
n then
o(a) | |Z×
n |.

## Definition 3.5. If o(a) = |Z× n | then a is

called a primitive root of Zn.

## Exercise 3.5. Show that if a ∈ Z×

n is a
primitive root then

Z× 2
n = {1, a, a , · · · , a
n−1 }.

## Example 3.7. Which one of the following

is a primitive root?

(i) 2 ∈ Z5

(ii) 4 ∈ Z11

(ii) 3 ∈ Z8

## Question 3.2 . For which integer n does

Zn have a primitive root?

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Definition 3.6. The function ϕ : N → N
defined by
n 7→ |Z×
n|
is called the Euler ϕ function.

Example 3.8.

(i) ϕ(6) =

(ii) ϕ(p) =

(ii) ϕ(2n) =

## Exercise 3.6. Show that for all primes p,

we have ϕ(pk ) = pk−1(p − 1).

## Theorem 3.6. Let m, n ∈ N be coprime.

Then ϕ(mn) = ϕ(m)ϕ(n).

## Proof. Later in the course.

Qk a
Exercise 3.7. Compute ϕ( i=1 pi i ).
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Theorem 3.7 (Euler’s Theorem). Let
a, n ∈ Z with n ≥ 1 and gcd(a, n) = 1. Then
aφ(n) ≡ 1 mod n.

Proof.

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Corollary 3.2 (Fermant’s Little Theorem).
Let p be a prime and a not divisible by p.
Then ap ≡ a mod p.

Proof.

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