2010;
344 pp;
Hardcover

MSC: Primary 11; 37;
Secondary 68

**Print ISBN: 978-0-8218-4940-8
Product Code: MBK/78**

List Price: $62.00

Individual Member Price: $49.60

#### Supplemental Materials

# The Ultimate Challenge: The $3x+1$ Problem

Share this page *Edited by *
*Jeffrey C. Lagarias*

The \(3x+1\) problem, or Collatz problem, concerns the
following seemingly innocent arithmetic procedure applied to integers:
If an integer \(x\) is odd then “multiply by three and
add one”, while if it is even then “divide by
two”. The \(3x+1\) problem asks whether, starting from
any positive integer, repeating this procedure over and over will
eventually reach the number 1. Despite its simple appearance, this
problem is unsolved. Generalizations of the problem are known to be
undecidable, and the problem itself is believed to be extraordinarily
difficult.

This book reports on what is known on this problem. It consists of
a collection of papers, which can be read independently of each
other. The book begins with two introductory papers, one giving an
overview and current status, and the second giving history and basic
results on the problem. These are followed by three survey papers on
the problem, relating it to number theory and dynamical systems, to
Markov chains and ergodic theory, and to logic and the theory of
computation. The next paper presents results on probabilistic models
for behavior of the iteration. This is followed by a paper giving the
latest computational results on the problem, which verify its truth
for \(x < 5.4 \cdot 10^{18}\). The book also reprints six early
papers on the problem and related questions, by L. Collatz,
J. H. Conway, H. S. M. Coxeter, C. J. Everett, and R. K. Guy, each
with editorial commentary. The book concludes with an annotated
bibliography of work on the problem up to the year 2000.

#### Readership

Graduate students and research mathematicians interested in number theory.

#### Reviews & Endorsements

Let me cut to the chase: Lagarias has assembled a fantastic book on a fascinating topic, and it is the type of book that the mathematical community could use more of. The book assembles a variety of articles written about the topic over the last forty years, coming to the material from different directions and using different flavors of mathematics, all in service of trying to solve this problem.

-- MAA Reviews

[This book] contains...two surveys by editor Lagarias...the world's foremost expert. [It also contains] a tremendously useful, richly annotated bibliography...[to] round out the volume. ....A must for all libraries. Highly recommended.

-- D.V. Feldman, Choice

[T]his book is a thorough account of an open and challenging problem.

Overview and introduction

Survey papers

Stochastic modelling and computation papers

Reprinted early papers

Annotated bibliography

[T]his book is a thorough account of an open and challenging problem.

Overview and introduction

Survey papers

Stochastic modelling and computation papers

Reprinted early papers

Annotated bibliography

-- Vincente Muqoz, The European Mathematical Society