Very neat character sums: proof of the conjecture of Dobbertin, Helleseth, Kumar, and Martinsen

02/10/2015 - 12:15pm
Daniel Katz (Cal State Northridge)

We consider Weil sums, which are obtained by summing the values of a finite field character with a polynomial argument. These are used to count points in varieties over finite fields, as well as to compute the correlation properties of sequences that arise in information theory and cryptography. Our Weil sums involve additive characters with binomial arguments. As we vary the coefficients of the binomial, we obtain a spectrum of values, which depends on the finite field used and the exponents that appear in the binomial. Some rare choices give very elegant spectra that attain only three distinct values as the coefficients are varied through the field (two values occur only in uninteresting degenerate cases). Ten infinite families of three-valued Weil sums have been found from 1966 to 2013. Numerical evidence was found by Dobbertin, Helleseth, Kumar, and Martinsen for one further inifnite family, which they conjectured (in 2001) to exist. This talk is about the proof of their conjecture. The methods employed are diverse: algebraic number theory, graph theory, trilinear forms, character sums, and counting points on curves. This is joint work with Philippe Langevin.

Mudd Science Library 126, Pomona College

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