# Computational verification of Collatz conjecture

## Prerequisites

The typedef name uint128_t designates an unsigned integer type with width exactly 128 bits.

The UINT128_MAX is maximum value for an object of type uint128_t.

Function int ctz(uint128_t n) returns the number of trailing 0-bits in n, starting at the least significant bit position. If n is 0, the result is undefined.

The macro UINT128_C(n) shall expand to an integer constant expression corresponding to the type uint128_t.

The following macros are defined.

/* all 3^n for n < 41 fits into uint64_t */
#define LUT_SIZE64 41
/* all 3^n for n < 81 fits into uint128_t */
#define LUT_SIZE128 81


The following array is defined and initialized with corresponding values.

/* lut[n] contains 3^n */
uint128_t lut[LUT_SIZE128];


## Problem

My program is concerned with verifying the convergence of the Collatz problem, using this algorithm.

The convergence for all values n ≤ 87 × 260 has been proven. [Source: Christian Hercher, Uber die Lange nicht-trivialer Collatz-Zyklen, Artikel in der Zeitschrift "Die Wurzel" Hefte 6 und 7/2018.]

The following function is called for n of the form $$\4n+3\$$, in order from the smallest one to the largest one, only if all preceding calls returned zero.

The following function should either

• return 0 if the Collatz problem for the n is convergent,
• return 1 if the function cannot verify the convergence using 128-bit arithmetic,
• loop infinitely if the trajectory for the n is cyclic.

## Code

int check_convergence(uint128_t n)
{
uint128_t n0 = n;
int e;

do {
if (n <= UINT128_C(87) << 60) {
return 0;
}

n++;

e = ctz(n);

n >>= e;

if (n < UINT128_C(1) << 64 && e < LUT_SIZE64) {
return 0;
}

if (n > UINT128_MAX >> 2*e || e >= LUT_SIZE128) {
return 1;
}

n *= lut[e];

n--;

n >>= ctz(n);

if (n < n0) {
return 0;
}
} while (1);
}

• @CacahueteFrito Good point. The n++ can overflow for initial n = UINT128_MAX. However, n++ in subsequent iterations of the do-while loop cannot overflow since those immediately preceding n >>= ctz(n); will always make room for at least one bit. Aug 27 '19 at 12:19
• @CacahueteFrito The n *= lut[e]; cannot overflow since the condition n > UINT128_MAX >> 2*e ensures the result of that multiplication will surely fit the uint128_t type. Aug 27 '19 at 12:21
• @CacahueteFrito ctz(n) is always greater than 0 since the argument n is even. Aug 27 '19 at 13:05
• @CacahueteFrito Lets say we have 3 GHz CPU computing 3 000 000 000 simple instructions per second. Then going over 2^128 states would roughly take 3.6 x 10^21 years. Aug 28 '19 at 11:25
• Good to read that; sometimes I tend to forget the most basic things :-)
– alx
Aug 28 '19 at 11:26

Given that (from your comments) there is one and only one input which would cause overflow, I propose the following check at the beginning of the function:

int check_convergence(uint128_t n)
{
const uint128_t n0 = n;
int e;

if (n == UINT128_MAX)
return  1;

do {
...
} while (true);
}


I also added const to n0, given that it's constant through all the function.

if (n < UINT128_C(1) << 64 && e < LUT_SIZE64)
return  0;


That can be rewritten as:

if (n <= UINT64_MAX && e < LUT_SIZE64)
return  0;


Although maybe unneeded, I prefer to always parenthesize macros that evaluate to a value, just in case:

#define LUT_SIZE128  (81)

• (unsigned long)(n>>64) == 0 seems to be much faster than n < UINT128_C(1) << 64 or n <= UINT64_MAX. Aug 28 '19 at 12:27
• @DaBler Nice. Even with -O3 or -Ofast ? Does the cast affect performance (in theory it is unneeded)? I would remove that cast, or use uint64_t instead if it affects performance.
– alx
Aug 28 '19 at 12:50
• Using -march=native -O3 and gcc 4.6.3 (-Ofast should only have effect on floating-point math, right?). The (unsigned long)(n>>64) == 0 gives speedup factor about 1.1 over n < UINT128_C(1) << 64, depending on the particular input range. Aug 28 '19 at 13:01
• @DaBler Curious. I guess GCC doesn't know how to optimize unsigned __int128 very much, which is what I guess you are using for the typedef. I guess n <= UINT64_MAX is also slower. There's some other thing you may try, but which relies on implementation defined behaviour: Use a union that contains a uint128_t and a uint64_t , and test which of the two elements of the array contains the MSbits. Then just compare that element of the union to 0. It may be even faster than your shift, or it may not. Just try ;-)
– alx
Aug 28 '19 at 13:21
• That's exactly what I've tried for a few days back. But it did not bring any acceleration over mere uint128_t. See my attempt here Look for typedef union { unsigned long ul; uint128_t ull; } uint128_u; Aug 28 '19 at 13:36