Rather more than thirty years ago Erdős and Mirsky  asked whether there exist infinitely many integers n for which d(n) = d(n + 1). At one time it seemed that this might be as hard to resolve as the twin prime problem, see Vaughan  and Halberstam and Richert [3, pp. 268, 338]. The reasoning was roughly as follows. A natural way to arrange that d(n) = d(n + l) is to take n = 2p, where 2p + 1 = 3q, with p, q primes. However sieve methods yield only 2p + 1 = 3P2 (by the method of Chen ). To specify that P2 should be a prime q entails resolving the “parity problem” of sieve theory. Doing this would equally allow one to replace P2 by a prime in Chen's p + 2 = P2 result.
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