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Canonical heights on genus-2 Jacobians

Jan Steffen Müller and Michael Stoll

Vol. 10 (2016), No. 10, 2153–2234

Let K be a number field and let CK be a curve of genus 2 with Jacobian variety J. We study the canonical height ĥ: J(K) . More specifically, we consider the following two problems, which are important in applications:

  1. for a given P J(K), compute ĥ(P) efficiently;

  2. for a given bound B > 0, find all P J(K) with ĥ(P) B.

We develop an algorithm running in polynomial time (and fast in practice) to deal with the first problem. For the second problem, we show how to tweak the naive height h to obtain significantly improved bounds for the difference h ĥ, which allows a much faster enumeration of the desired set of points.

Our approach is to use the standard decomposition of h(P) ĥ(P) as a sum of local “height correction functions”. We study these functions carefully, which leads to efficient ways of computing them and to essentially optimal bounds. To get our polynomial-time algorithm, we have to avoid the factorization step needed to find the finite set of places where the correction might be nonzero. The main innovation is to replace factorization into primes by factorization into coprimes.

Most of our results are valid for more general fields with a set of absolute values satisfying the product formula.

An errata was submitted on 30 Dec 2022 and posted online on 16 Feb 2023.

canonical height, hyperelliptic curve, curve of genus 2, Jacobian surface, Kummer surface
Mathematical Subject Classification 2010
Primary: 11G50
Secondary: 11G30, 11G10, 14G40, 14Q05, 14G05
Supplementary material


Received: 31 March 2016
Revised: 2 August 2016
Accepted: 5 September 2016
Published: 9 December 2016

Errata: 16 February 2023

Jan Steffen Müller
Institut für Mathematik
Carl von Ossietzky Universität Oldenburg
D-26111 Oldenburg
Michael Stoll
Mathematisches Institut
Universität Bayreuth
D-95440 Bayreuth