Euler's totient function

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Euler's totient function $\phi(n)$ applied to a positive integer $n$ is defined to be the number of positive integers less than or equal to $n$ that are relatively prime to $n$. $\phi(n)$ is read "phi of n."


To derive the formula, let us first define the prime factorization of $n$ as $n =\prod_{i=1}^{m}p_i^{e_i} =p_1^{e_1}p_2^{e_2}\cdots p_m^{e_m}$ where the $p_i$ are distinct prime numbers. Now, we can use a PIE argument to count the number of numbers less than or equal to $n$ that are relatively prime to it.

First, let's count the complement of what we want (i.e. all the numbers less than $n$ that share a common factor with it). There are $p_1^{e_1-1}p_2^{e_2}\cdots p_m^{e_m}$ numbers less than $n$ that are divisible by $p_1$. If we do the same for each $p_k$ and add these up, we get

$p_1^{e_1-1}p_2^{e_2}\cdots p_m^{e_m} + p_1^{e_1}p_2^{e_2-1}\cdots p_m^{e_m} + \cdots + p_1^{e_1}p_2^{e_2}\cdots p_m^{e_m - 1}.$

We can factor out, though:

$p_1^{e_1-1}p_2^{e_2-1}\cdots p_m^{e_m-1}(p_1+p_2+\cdots + p_m).$

But we are obviously overcounting. We then subtract out those divisible by two of the $p_k$. We continue with this PIE argument to figure out that the number of elements in the complement of what we want is

$p_1^{e_1-1}p_2^{e_2-1}\cdots p_m^{e_m-1}[(p_1+p_2+\cdots+p_m)-(p_1p_2+p_1p_3+\cdots+p_{m-1}p_m)+\cdots+(-1)^{m+1}(p_1p_2\cdots p_m)]$

which we can factor further as

$p_1^{e_1-1}p_2^{e_2-1}\cdots p_m^{e_m-1}(p_1-1)(p_2-1)\cdots(p_m-1).$

Making one small adjustment, we write this as

$\phi(n) = n\left(1-\frac 1{p_1}\right)\left(1-\frac 1{p_2}\right)\cdots\left(1-\frac 1{p_m}\right).$

Given the general prime factorization of ${n} = {p}_1^{e_1}{p}_2^{e_2} \cdots {p}_m^{e_m}$, one can compute $\phi(n)$ using the formula \[\phi(n) = n\left(1-\frac{1}{p_1}\right)\left(1-\frac{1}{p_2}\right) \cdots \left(1-\frac{1}{p_m}\right)\]


For prime p, $\phi(p)=p-1$, because all numbers less than ${p}$ are relatively prime to it.

For relatively prime ${a}, {b}$, $\phi{(a)}\phi{(b)} = \phi{(ab)}$.

In fact, we also have for any ${a}, {b}$ that $\phi{(a)}\phi{(b)}\gcd(a,b)=\phi{(ab)}\phi({\gcd(a,b)})$.

For any $n$, we have $\sum_{d|n}\phi(d)=n$ where the sum is taken over all divisors d of $n$.


Sometimes, instead of $\phi$, $\varphi$ is used. This variation of the Greek letter phi is common in textbooks, and is standard usage on the English Wikipedia

See Also

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