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These look fascinating, thanks.

I tried to crack this problem, and ended up (very naively) resorting to substituting division with modulo operation that is, a%(b+c) + b%(a+c) + c%(a+b) = 4 of which the min solution is a=1, b=2, and c=4. I am glad that the true solution involved EC which, if my understanding is correct, is basically modular operations in high-dimensional space.

Elliptic curves are "generalized modular arithmetic" only in the sense that they involve a different kind of addition law (the set of points on a nice EC is a group).

Also, you can look at the points on an elliptic curve where you allow the coordinates to be real, complex, rational, or even the integers mod p (any field will do), so the last choice gives you a closer link with modular arithmetic. It's best to treat ECs as their own weird, wonderful beasts!

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