Thursday, July 11, 2013

1307.2834 (Rachele Nerattini et al.)

"Magic" numbers in Smale's 7th problem    [PDF]

Rachele Nerattini, Johann S. Brauchart, Michael K. -H. Kiessling
Smale's 7-th problem concerns N-point configurations on the 2-dim sphere which minimize the logarithmic pair-energy V_0(r) = -ln r averaged over the pairs in a configuration; here, r is the chordal distance between the points forming a pair. More generally, V_0(r) may be replaced by the standardized Riesz pair-energy V_s(r)= (r^{-s} -1)/s, which becomes - ln r in the limit s to 0, and the sphere may be replaced by other compact manifolds. This paper inquires into the concavity of the map from the integers N>1 into the minimal average standardized Riesz pair-energies v_s(N) of the N-point configurations on the 2-sphere for various real s. It is known that v_s(N) is strictly increasing for each real s, and for s<2 also bounded above, hence "overall concave." It is (easily) proved that v_{-2}(N) is even locally strictly concave, and that so is v_s(2n) for s<-2. By analyzing computer-experimental data of putatively minimal average Riesz pair-energies v_s^x(N) for s in {-1,0,1,2,3} and N in {2,...,200}, it is found that {v}_{-1}^x(N) is locally strictly concave, while v_s^x(N) is not always locally strictly concave for s in {0,1,2,3}: concavity defects occur whenever N in C^{x}_+(s) (an s-specific empirical set of integers). It is found that the empirical map C^{x}_+(s), with s in {-2,-1,0,1,2,3}, is set-theoretically increasing; moreover, the percentage of odd numbers in C^{x}_+(s), s in {0,1,2,3}, is found to increase with s. The integers in C^{x}_+(0) are few and far between, forming a curious sequence of numbers, reminiscent of the "magic numbers" in nuclear physics. It is conjectured that the "magic numbers" in Smale's 7-th problem are associated with optimally symmetric optimal-energy configurations.
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