Some new results about a conjecture by Brian Alspach

Risultato della ricerca: Contributo in rivistaArticolo in rivista

1 Citazioni (Scopus)


In this paper, we consider the following conjecture, proposed by Brian Alspach, concerning partial sums in finite cyclic groups: given a subset A of Zn { 0 } of size k such that ∑ z∈Az≠ 0 , it is possible to find an ordering (a1, … , ak) of the elements of A such that the partial sums si=∑j=1iaj, i= 1 , … , k, are nonzero and pairwise distinct. This conjecture is known to be true for subsets of size k≤ 11 in cyclic groups of prime order. Here, we extend this result to any torsion-free abelian group and, as a consequence, we provide an asymptotic result in Zn. We also consider a related conjecture, originally proposed by Ronald Graham: given a subset A of Zp { 0 } , where p is a prime, there exists an ordering of the elements of A such that the partial sums are all distinct. Working with the methods developed by Hicks, Ollis, and Schmitt, based on Alon’s combinatorial Nullstellensatz, we prove the validity of this conjecture for subsets A of size 12.
Lingua originaleEnglish
pagine (da-a)479-488
Numero di pagine10
RivistaArchiv der Mathematik
Stato di pubblicazionePubblicato - 2020


  • Alspach’s conjecture
  • Partial sum
  • Polynomial method
  • Torsion-free abelian group


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