Bounds on an exponential sum related to an equidistribution question - MathOverflow most recent 30 from http://mathoverflow.net 2013-05-22T12:10:04Z http://mathoverflow.net/feeds/question/86476 http://www.creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/2.5/rdf http://mathoverflow.net/questions/86476/bounds-on-an-exponential-sum-related-to-an-equidistribution-question Bounds on an exponential sum related to an equidistribution question Joseph Vandehey 2012-01-23T19:57:30Z 2012-01-24T17:46:40Z <p>The short version:</p> <blockquote> <p>Given non-zero real numbers $\alpha$ and $\beta$, can one prove the following estimate in a simple manner? Or does it follow from a well-known result on exponential sums? $$\sum_{n=1}^N \frac{1}{\sqrt{n}}e(\alpha n + \beta n \log n) = O_{\alpha,\beta}(\log N)$$ (Here $e(x)=e^{2 \pi i x}$) And, if so, can one replace big-O with little-o for certain $\alpha$ and $\beta$?</p> </blockquote> <p>The background:</p> <p>This peculiar question came from my recent study of the van der Corput transform (also called Process B or the method of van der Corput). The transform says that given sufficiently "nice" functions $f$ and $g$, with $f$ strictly increasing, $$\sum_{a\le n \le b} g(n) e(f(n)) \approx \sum_{f'(a)\le \nu \le f'(b)} \frac{g(x_\nu)}{\sqrt{f''(x_\nu)}} e(f(x_\nu)-\nu x_\nu +\tfrac{1}{8})$$ where $f'(x_\nu)=\nu$.</p> <p>The error term in this transformation has been the subject of much study, but the simplest and most traditional is written as $$O( \lambda^{-1/2} + \log(f'(b)-f'(a)+1))$$ where $f''(x) \asymp \lambda$ on $[a,b]$ (for example, Theorem 8.16 in Iwaniec and Kowalski).</p> <p>Out of curiosity, I considered the case when $g(n) = 1$, $f(n) = k(\tfrac{3}{2})^n$, $a=1$, and $b=x$. If such a sum could be shown to be $o(x)$ for all non-zero integer $k$, then this would imply the equidistribution of the fractional parts of $(\tfrac{3}{2})^n$. The van der Corput transform of such a sum looks like a constant multiple of the sum at the beginning of this problem, with $$\alpha = \frac{1-\log(k\log 3/2)}{\log(3/2)}$$ $$\beta = \frac{1}{\log(3/2)}$$ $$N=k\left(\frac{3}{2}\right)^x \log(3/2)$$ </p> <p>The traditional error terms in this case are, in fact, on the order of $x$, but I believe I have a method to reduce them, which would give the big-O bound at the top of this question as a simple corollary of an exceedingly complicated theorem. I ask this question of mathoverflow because I do not know whether a simpler proof exists, or whether there exists a little-o estimate, which might imply the equidistribution of the fractional parts of $(\tfrac{3}{2})^n$.</p> <p>I would suspect that any little-o estimates would require very strong conditions on $\alpha$ and $\beta$, given that the sequence $2^n$ does not equidistribute modulo 1, but the van der Corput transforms of the associated exponential sums have very similar $\alpha$ and $\beta$ to the ones mentioned above.</p>