Infoscience

Journal article

# Extensions of a result of Elekes and Rónyai

Many problems in combinatorial geometry can be formulated in terms of curves or surfaces containing many points of a cartesian product. In 2000, Elekes and Rónyai proved that if the graph of a polynomial f(x, y) contains cn2 points of an n × n × n cartesian product in R3, then the polynomial has one of the forms f(x, y) = g(k(x) + l(y)) or f(x, y) = g(k(x)l(y)). They used this to prove a conjecture of Purdy which states that given two lines in R2 and n points on each line, if the number of distinct distances between pairs of points, one on each line, is at most cn, then the lines are parallel or orthogonal. We extend the Elekes-Rónyai Theorem to a less symmetric cartesian product. This leads to a proof of Purdy's conjecture with significantly fewer points on one of the lines. We also extend the Elekes-Rónyai Theorem to n × n × n × n cartesian products, again with an asymmetric version. We finish with a lower bound which shows that our result for asymmetric cartesian products in four dimensions is near-optimal. © 2013 Elsevier Inc.