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Counting points on varieties over finite fields related to a conjecture of Kontsevich

By: John Stembridge;

1998 / Springer Science+Business Media / 0218-0006


We describe a characteristic-free algorithm for “reducing” an algebraic variety defined by the vanishing of a set of integer polynomials. In very special cases, the algorithm can be used to decide whether the number of points on a variety, as the ground field varies over finite fields, is a polynomial function of the size of the field. The algorithm is then used to investigate a conjecture of Kontsevich regarding the number of points on a variety associated with the set of spanning trees of any graph. We also prove several theorems describing properties of a (hypothetical) minimal counterexample to the conjecture, and produce counterexamples to some related conjectures.