Questions tagged [polynomials]

Questions in which polynomials (single or several variables) play a key role. It is typically important that this tag is combined with other tags; polynomials appear in very different contexts. Please, use at least one of the top-level tags, such as nt.number-theory, co.combinatorics, ac.commutative-algebra, in addition to it. Also, note the more specific tags for some special types of polynomials, e.g., orthogonal-polynomials, symmetric-polynomials.

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365
votes
15answers
53k views

Why do roots of polynomials tend to have absolute value close to 1?

While playing around with Mathematica I noticed that most polynomials with real coefficients seem to have most complex zeroes very near the unit circle. For instance, if we plot all the roots of a ...
272
votes
7answers
18k views

Polynomial representing all nonnegative integers

Lagrange proved that every nonnegative integer is a sum of 4 squares. Gauss proved that every nonnegative integer is a sum of 3 triangular numbers. Is there a 2-variable polynomial $f(x,y) \in \...
202
votes
10answers
28k views

If $f$ is infinitely differentiable then $f$ coincides with a polynomial

Let $f$ be an infinitely differentiable function on $[0,1]$ and suppose that for each $x \in [0,1]$ there is an integer $n \in \mathbb{N}$ such that $f^{(n)}(x)=0$. Then does $f$ coincide on $[0,1]$ ...
125
votes
0answers
6k views

Why polynomials with coefficients $0,1$ like to have only factors with $0,1$ coefficients?

Conjecture. Let $P(x),Q(x) \in \mathbb{R}[x]$ be two monic polynomials with non-negative coefficients. If $R(x)=P(x)Q(x)$ is $0,1$ polynomial (coefficients only from $\{0,1\}$), then $P(x)$ and $Q(x)$ ...
91
votes
11answers
5k views

Can a non-surjective polynomial map from an infinite field to itself miss only finitely many points?

Is there an infinite field $k$ together with a polynomial $f \in k[x]$ such that the associated map $f \colon k \to k$ is not surjective but misses only finitely many elements in $k$ (i.e. only ...
71
votes
7answers
6k views

Roots of truncations of $ e^x - 1$

During a talk I was at today, the speaker mentioned that if you truncate the Taylor series for $e^x - 1$, you'll get lots of roots with nonzero real part, even though the full Taylor series only has ...
69
votes
9answers
18k views

Irreducibility of polynomials in two variables

Let $k$ be a field. I am interested in sufficient criteria for $f \in k[x,y]$ to be irreducible. An example is Theorem A of this paper (Brindza and Pintér, On the irreducibility of some polynomials in ...
64
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6answers
6k views

How to recognise that the polynomial method might work

A couple of days ago I was at a nice seminar given by Christian Reiher, during which he told us about a short proof of the following special case of a theorem of Olson. Theorem. Let $(a_1,b_1),\dots,(...
57
votes
4answers
6k views

Degree of sum of algebraic numbers

This is an elementary question (coming from an undergraduate student) about algebraic numbers, to which I don't have a complete answer. Let $a$ and $b$ be algebraic numbers, with respective degrees $...
54
votes
5answers
3k views

Bizarre operation on polynomials

There I was, innocently doing some category theory, when up popped a totally outlandish operation on polynomials. It seems outlandish to me, anyway. I'd like to know if anyone has seen this ...
50
votes
6answers
2k views

Why does $d^n \exp(-x-x^{-1})/(dx)^n$ only have $n$ positive real zeroes?

Set $f(x) = \exp(-x-x^{-1})$. An easy induction shows that $$\frac{d^n}{(dx)^n} f(x) = \phi_n(x^{-1}) f(x)$$ for $\phi_n$ a polynomial of degree $2n$. Clearly, the roots of $\phi_n(x^{-1})$ are the ...
49
votes
2answers
4k views

Polynomial with the primes as coefficients irreducible?

If $p_n$ is the $n$'th prime, let $A_n(x) = x^n + p_1x^{n-1}+\cdots + p_{n-1}x+p_n$. Is $A_n$ then irreducible in $\mathbb{Z}[x]$ for any natural number $n$? I checked the first couple of hundred ...
49
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2answers
2k views

Does one real radical root imply they all are?

Is there an example of an irreducible polynomial $f(x) \in \mathbb{Q}[x]$ with a real root expressible in terms of real radicals and another real root not expressible in terms of real radicals?
48
votes
2answers
4k views

Polynomials having a common root with their derivatives

Here is a question someone asked me a couple of years ago. I remember having spent a day or two thinking about it but did not manage to solve it. This may be an open problem, in which case I'd be ...
46
votes
1answer
4k views

How to prove this polynomial always has integer values at all integers?

Let $m$ be any positive integer. $$ P_m(x)=\sum_{i=0}^{m}\sum_{j=0}^{m}{x+j\choose j}{x-1\choose j}{j\choose i}{m\choose i}{i\choose m-j}\frac{3}{(2i-1)(2j+1)(2m-2i-1)}. $$ Question: $P_m(x)$ always ...
44
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5answers
4k views

The resultant and the ideal generated by two polynomials in $\mathbb{Z}[x]$

I was asked the following question by a colleague and was embarrassed not to know the answer. Let $f(x), g(x) \in \mathbb{Z}[x]$ with no root in common. Let $I = (f(x),g(x))\cap \mathbb{Z}$, that is, ...
44
votes
4answers
4k views

The maximum of a polynomial on the unit circle

Encouraged by the progress made in a recently posted MO problem, here is a "conceptually related" problem originating from a 2003 joint paper of Sergei Konyagin and myself. Suppose we are given $n$ ...
41
votes
5answers
3k views

Which polynomial's roots are its coefficients?

Start with any polynomial of degree $n$ with complex coefficients, e.g., $$z^3+z^2+2 z+3 \;.$$ Find its $n$ roots, and list them in order of their modulus: $$-1.28, (0.14\pm 1.53 i)$$ Now form a new ...
41
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4answers
4k views

Polynomial roots and convexity

A couple of years ago, I came up with the following question, to which I have no answer to this day. I have asked a few people about this, most of my teachers and some friends, but no one had ever ...
38
votes
4answers
3k views

The sum of squared logarithms conjecture

I am searching for the first proof of (or counterexample to) the following conjecture. (The sum of squared logarithms conjecture) For all natural numbers $n$ and positive numbers $x_1,x_2, \ldots , ...
36
votes
2answers
2k views

A question on maps from $\mathbb{Z}/p\mathbb{Z}$ to itself

Let $p\geq 3$ be a prime number, and let $u:\mathbb{Z}/p\mathbb{Z}\to \mathbb{Z}/p\mathbb{Z}$ be a map such that, for all $l\in \mathbb{Z}/p\mathbb{Z}$,$l\neq 0$, the map $k\mapsto u(k+l)-u(k)$ is a ...
36
votes
2answers
1k views

A curious identity related to finite fields

To three elements $a_1$, $a_2$, $a_3$ in the finite field $\mathbb F_q$ of $q$ elements we associate the number $N(a_1,a_2,a_3)$ of elements $a_0\in \mathbb F_q$ such that the polynomial $x^4+a_3x^3+...
36
votes
4answers
1k views

Generalizing the notion of Farey neighbors to the algebraic numbers

"The Beauty of Roots" is about plots of roots of polynomials—specifically, those with degree less than a given number and height less than another given number. As you can see, these plots are ...
35
votes
13answers
6k views

What Are Some Naturally-Occurring High-Degree Polynomials?

To construct J. H. Conway's look-and-say sequence, begin by putting down a 1 as the first entry. The other entries are found by saying the previous entry aloud, and writing what you hear. ...
34
votes
4answers
3k views

A family of polynomials whose zeros all lie on the unit circle

I had posted the following problem on stack exchange before. Suppose $\lambda$ is a real number in $\left( 0,1\right)$, and let $n$ be a positive integer. Prove that all the roots of the ...
34
votes
0answers
439 views

Is there a notion of polynomial ring in “one half variable”?

Let $C$ be the category of commutative rings. Is there a functor $F :C \to C$ such that $F(F(R)) \cong R[X]$ for every commutative ring $R$ ? (Here, we may assume those isomorphisms to be natural ...
33
votes
7answers
1k views

On the polynomial $\sum_{k=0}^n\binom{n}{k}(-1)^kX^{k(n-k)}$

Let $n = 2m$ be an even integer and let $F_n(X)$ be the polynomial $$F_n(X):=\sum_{k=0}^n\binom{n}{k}(-1)^kX^{k(n-k)}.$$ I observed (but cannot prove) that the polynomial $F_n$ is always divisible by $...
31
votes
3answers
2k views

Polynomials with the same values set on the unit circle

Assume that $P(z)$, $Q(z)$ are complex polynomials such that $P(S)=Q(S)$, where $S=\{z\colon |z|=1\}$ (equality is understood in the sense of sets, but I do not know the answer even for multisets). ...
31
votes
1answer
3k views

Integers not represented by $ 2 x^2 + x y + 3 y^2 + z^3 - z $

EDIT, 9 March 2014: when I asked this in 2010, I did not have the courage of my convictions, and so did not ask for an if and only if proof, as Kevin Buzzard quite properly pointed out. Such problems ...
31
votes
3answers
4k views

Are surjectivity and injectivity of polynomial functions from $\mathbb{Q}^n$ to $\mathbb{Q}$ algorithmically decidable?

Is there an algorithm which, given a polynomial $f \in \mathbb{Q}[x_1, \dots, x_n]$, decides whether the mapping $f: \mathbb{Q}^n \rightarrow \mathbb{Q}$ is surjective, respectively, injective? -- And ...
31
votes
1answer
959 views

Finding a path through real rooted polynomials

This is a lemma I wanted in order to solve Patrizio Neff's conjecture. It turned out to be the wrong way to think about it, but I am still curious if it is true. Let $z^n+a_{n-1} z^{n-1} + \cdots + ...
29
votes
6answers
2k views

Bass' stable range of $\mathbf Z[X]$

Let $n$ be a positive integer and $A$ be a commutative ring. The ring $A$ is said to be of Bass stable range $\mathrm{sr}(A)\leq n$ if for $a, a_1, \dots, a_n \in A$ one has the following implication: ...
29
votes
2answers
1k views

Polynomial $g:\mathbb R^n \rightarrow\mathbb R^n$ with no critical point may have no root

Version 1 (solved): If $g$ : $\mathbb R^n \rightarrow \mathbb R^n$ is a polynomial, $Dg(x)$ is non-degenerate for every $x$, then there exists $x$, such that $g(x)=0$. Version 2: If $f$ : $\mathbb R^n ...
29
votes
1answer
3k views

Zeros of polynomials with real positive coefficients

The following problem arose in collaborative work with Subhro Ghosh: Question: To any polynomial $P_n(z)=\sum_{i=0}^n a_i z^i =a_n \prod_{i=1}^n(z-z_i)$, attach the empirical measure of zeros $L_n=n^{...
29
votes
1answer
1k views

Which of the proofs of the fundamental theorem of algebra can actually produce bounds on where the roots are?

One of the old classic MO questions is a big-list of proofs of the fundamental theorem of algebra. Here is a second big-list question about this big list: Which of the FTA proofs can, even in ...
28
votes
12answers
5k views

When does 'positive' imply 'sum of squares'?

Does anyone have examples of when an object is positive, then it has (or does not have) a square root? Or more generally, can be written as a sum of squares? Example. A positive integer does not ...
28
votes
3answers
2k views

Is $x^{2k+1} - 7x^2 + 1$ irreducible?

Question. Is the polynomial $x^{2k+1} - 7x^2 + 1$ irreducible over $\mathbb{Q}$ for every positive integer $k$? It is irreducible for all positive integers $k \leq 800$.
28
votes
3answers
2k views

All polynomials are the sum of three others, each of which has only real roots

It was asked at the Bulletin of the American Mathematical Society Volume 64, Number 2, 1958, as a Research Problem, if a Hurwitz polynomial with real coefficients (i.e. all of its zeros have negative ...
28
votes
5answers
16k views

Criteria to determine whether a real-coefficient polynomial has real root?

Given a polynomial equation $x^n+a_{n-1}x^{n-1}+\cdots+a_1x+a_0=0$, where $n$ is even and all the coefficients $a_i$ are real, what is the best way to determine whether it has a real root or not? I ...
28
votes
5answers
4k views

How did Ramanujan discover this identity?

Let $$\small F_n=(a+b+c)^n+(b+c+d)^n-(c+d+a)^n-(d+a+b)^n+(a-d)^n-(b-c)^n$$ and $ad=bc$, then $$64 F_6 F_{10}=45 F_8^2$$ This fascinating identity is due to Ramanujan and can be found in http://www.maa....
28
votes
3answers
2k views

when is the power of a nonnegative polynomial a sum of squares?

There are polynomials that are not sum of squares. For example Motzkin gave the example $x^4y^2+x^2y^4+z^6-3x^2y^2z^2$ in 1967. Is there a real polynomial $f\in{\mathbb{R}}[x_1,\ldots,x_n]$ in ...
28
votes
1answer
1k views

Polynomials non-negative on the integers

Let $P$ be a real polynomial of exact degree $2n$ ($n \geq 1$) whose zeros are real numbers and such that \begin{equation*} P(j) \geq 0 \quad \text{for any} \quad j \in \mathbb{Z}. \end{equation*} ...
27
votes
4answers
2k views

Distribution of roots of complex polynomials

I generated random quadratic and cubic polynomials with coefficients in $\mathbb{C}$ uniformly distributed in the unit disk $|z| \le 1$. The distribution of the roots of 10000 of these polynomials are ...
27
votes
1answer
2k views

How many polynomial Morse functions on the sphere?

Let $f$ be a homogeneous polynomial of degree $d$ in $n$ variables. Restricted to the unit sphere $S^{n-1}$, it might or might not be a Morse function. If $f$ is a Morse function of degree $1$, you ...
27
votes
0answers
547 views

Mathieu group $M_{23}$ as an algebraic group via additive polynomials

An elegant description of the Mathieu group $M_{23}$ is the following: Let $C$ be the multiplicative subgroup of order $23$ in the field $F=\mathbb F_{2^{11}}$ with $2^{11}$ elements. Then $M_{23}$ is ...
26
votes
5answers
2k views

Given a polynomial f, can there be more than one constant c such that every root of f(x)-c is repeated?

The question Let $f$ be a nonconstant polynomial over $\mathbb{C}$. Let's say that a point $c \in \mathbb{C}$ is unusual for $f$ if every root $x$ of $f(x) - c$ is repeated. Can $f$ have more than ...
26
votes
7answers
3k views

When is a monic integer polynomial the characteristic polynomial of a non-negative integer matrix?

Suppose $P(x)$ is a monic integer polynomial with roots $r_1, ... r_n$ such that $p_k = r_1^k + ... + r_n^k$ is a non-negative integer for all positive integers $k$. Is $P(x)$ necessarily the ...
26
votes
1answer
3k views

Polynomials with rational coefficients

Long time ago there was a question on whether a polynomial bijection $\mathbb Q^2\to\mathbb Q$ exists. Only one attempt of answering it has been given, highly downvoted by the way. But this answer isn'...
26
votes
4answers
2k views

$\binom{x}{2}+\binom{x}{4}+\cdots+\binom{x}{2u}$ is a convex function on $[0,+\infty)$?

Let $f(x)=\binom{x}{2}+\binom{x}{4}+\cdots+\binom{x}{2u}$, where $u\in\mathbb{Z}^+$ and $\binom{x}{l}=\frac{x(x-1)\dots(x-l+1)}{l!}$ for all $l\in\mathbb{Z}^+$. Then can we prove $f(x)$ is a convex ...
25
votes
1answer
1k views

SOS polynomials with integer coefficients

A well known theorem of Polya and Szego says that every non-negative univariate polynomial $p(x)$ can be expressed as the sum of exactly two squares: $p(x) = (f(x))^2 + (g(x))^2$ for some $f, g$. ...

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