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PRIME CHAINS AND PRATT TREES
"... ABSTRACT. We study the distribution of prime chains, which are sequences p1,..., pk of primes for which pj+1 ≡ 1 (mod pj) for each j. We first give conditional upper bounds on the length of Cunningham chains, chains with pj+1 = 2pj +1 for each j. We give estimates for P (x), the number of chains wit ..."
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ABSTRACT. We study the distribution of prime chains, which are sequences p1,..., pk of primes for which pj+1 ≡ 1 (mod pj) for each j. We first give conditional upper bounds on the length of Cunningham chains, chains with pj+1 = 2pj +1 for each j. We give estimates for P (x), the number of chains with pk � x (k variable), and P (x; p), the number of chains with p1 = p and pk � px. The majority of the paper concerns the distribution of H(p), the length of the longest chain with pk = p, which is also the height of the Pratt tree for p. We show H(p) � c log log p and H(p) � (log p) 1−c′ for almost all p, with c, c ′ explicit positive constants. We can take, for any ε> 0, c = e − ε assuming the ElliottHalberstam conjecture. A stochastic model of the Pratt tree is introduced and analyzed. The model suggests that for most p � x, H(p) stays very close to e log log x. 1.