Integral points on Markoff-type cubic surfaces
We report on some recent work with Peter Sarnak. For integers $k$, we consider the affine cubic surfaces $V_k$ given by $M(x) = x_1^2 + x_2 + x_3^2 − x_1 x_2 x_3 = k$. Then for almost all $k$, the Hasse Principle holds, namely that $V_k(Z)$ is non-empty if $V_k(Z_p)$ is non-empty for all primes $p$. Moreover there are infinitely many $k$'s for which it fails. There is an action of a non-linear group on the integral points, producing finitely many orbits. For most $k$, we obtain an exact description of these orbits, the number of which we call "class numbers". We give some numerical data related to the distribution of these class numbers and the Hasse failures. We also discuss some other cubic surfaces obtained by deforming the Markoff surfaces.