Furstenberg Sets in Finite Fields: Explaining and Improving the Ellenberg–Erman Proof

Manik Dhar, Zeev Dvir, Ben Lund

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


A (k, m)-Furstenberg set is a subset (Formula presented.) with the property that each k-dimensional subspace of (Formula presented.) can be translated so that it intersects S in at least m points. Ellenberg and Erman (Algebra Number Theory 10(7), 1415–1436 (2016)) proved that (k, m)-Furstenberg sets must have size at least (Formula presented.), where (Formula presented.) is a constant depending only n and k. In this paper, we adopt the same proof strategy as Ellenberg and Erman, but use more elementary techniques than their scheme-theoretic method. By modifying certain parts of the argument, we obtain an improved bound on (Formula presented.), and our improved bound is nearly optimal for an algebraic generalization the main combinatorial result. We also extend our analysis to give lower bounds for sets that have large intersection with shifts of a specific family of higher-degree co-dimension (Formula presented.) varieties, instead of just co-dimension (Formula presented.) subspaces.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)327-357
Number of pages31
JournalDiscrete and Computational Geometry
Issue number2
StatePublished - Mar 2024
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Theoretical Computer Science
  • Discrete Mathematics and Combinatorics
  • Geometry and Topology
  • Computational Theory and Mathematics


  • 05B25
  • 14G15
  • 42B25
  • 51E20
  • 52C17
  • Finite fields
  • Furstenberg
  • Kakeya
  • Polynomial method


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