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Rational periodic sequences for the Lyness recurrence

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  • Consider the celebrated Lyness recurrence $ x_{n+2}=(a+x_{n+1})/x_{n}$ with $a\in\mathbb{Q}$. First we prove that there exist initial conditions and values of $a$ for which it generates periodic sequences of rational numbers with prime periods $1,2,3,5,6,7,8,9,10$ or $12$ and that these are the only periods that rational sequences $\{x_n\}_n$ can have. It is known that if we restrict our attention to positive rational values of $a$ and positive rational initial conditions the only possible periods are $1,5$ and $9$. Moreover 1-periodic and 5-periodic sequences are easily obtained. We prove that for infinitely many positive values of $a,$ positive 9-period rational sequences occur. This last result is our main contribution and answers an open question left in previous works of Bastien & Rogalski and Zeeman. We also prove that the level sets of the invariant associated to the Lyness map is a two-parameter family of elliptic curves that is a universal family of the elliptic curves with a point of order $n, n\ge5,$ including $n$ infinity. This fact implies that the Lyness map is a universal normal form for most birational maps on elliptic curves.
    Mathematics Subject Classification: Primary: 39A20; Secondary: 39A11, 14H52.


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