Jared Duker Lichtman ’18 recently presented at the CANT 2017 conference at CUNY Graduate Center. Jared is interested in number theory and does research work with his advisor Carl Pomerance. Here Jared describes his experience at the conference.
CANT is short for Combinatorial and Additive Number Theory, (loosely!) suggestive of the topics seen at the conference. Almost all talks focused on some question in number theory, often drawing on tools from combinatorics or graph theory. There were also some talks only tangentially related to number theory, including one for which I was wholly unprepared in algebraic geometry. Much of the benefit to me was getting exposure to diversity of problems that occupy researchers. Even though I didn’t understand many talks, I think it is hard to understate the value of learning new ideas by osmosis on the first pass.
My talk was on “Lying on the Fermat primality test” where I discussed the work I had done with my advisor over the past year. Simply put, there is a test to determine whether an input number is prime or composite; it is guaranteed accurate if it outputs “composite,” but has a slight chance to be incorrect if it outputs “prime” (a false positive). The result of our work was to quantify just how small this probability is.