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  • Print publication year: 2006
  • Online publication date: June 2010

3 - Additive geometry


In Chapter 2 we studied the elementary theory of sum sets A + B for general subsets A, B of an arbitrary additive group Z. In order to progress further with this theory, it is important first to understand an important subclass of such sets, namely those with a strong geometric and additive structure. Examples include (generalized) arithmetic progressions, convex sets, lattices, and finite subgroups. We will term the study of such sets (for want of a better name) additive geometry; this includes in particular the classical convex geometry of Minkowski (also known as geometry of numbers). Our aim here is to classify these sets and to understand the relationship between their geometrical structure, their dimension (or rank), their size (or volume, or measure), and their behavior under addition or subtraction. Despite looking rather different at first glance, it will transpire that progressions, lattices, groups, and convex bodies are all related to each other, both in a rigorous sense and also on the level of heuristic analogy. For instance, progressions and lattices play a similar role in arithmetic combinatorics that balls and subspaces play in the theory of normed vector spaces. In later sections, by combining methods of additive geometry, sum set estimates, Fourier analysis, and Freiman homomorphisms, we will be able to prove Freiman's theorem, which shows that all sets with small doubling constant can be efficiently approximated by progressions and similarly structured sets.

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Additive Combinatorics
  • Online ISBN: 9780511755149
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