Solving Polynomial Equations

  • David Cox
  • John Little
  • Donal O’Shea
Part of the Graduate Texts in Mathematics book series (GTM, volume 185)


In this chapter we will discuss several approaches to solving systems of polynomial equations. First, we will discuss a straightforward attack based on the elimination properties of lexicographic Gröbner bases. Combining elimination with numerical root-finding for one-variable polynomials we get a conceptually simple method that generalizes the usual techniques used to solve systems of linear equations. However, there are potentially severe difficulties when this approach is implemented on a computer using finite-precision arithmetic. To circumvent these problems, we will develop some additional algebraic tools for root-finding based on the algebraic structure of the quotient rings k[x 1,..., x n ]/I. Using these tools, we will present alternative numerical methods for approximating solutions of polynomial systems and consider methods for real root-counting and root-isolation. In Chapters 3, 4 and 7, we will also discuss polynomial equation solving. Specifically, Chapter 3 will use resultants to solve polynomial equations, and Chapter 4 will show how to assign a well-behaved multiplicity to each solution of a system. Chapter 7 will consider other numerical techniques (homotopy continuation methods) based on bounds for the total number of solutions of a system, counting multiplicities.


Polynomial Equation Minimal Polynomial Symmetric Bilinear Form Main Loop Quotient Ring 
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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 1998

Authors and Affiliations

  • David Cox
    • 1
  • John Little
    • 2
  • Donal O’Shea
    • 3
  1. 1.Department of Mathematics and Computer ScienceAmherst CollegeAmherstUSA
  2. 2.Department of MathematicsCollege of the Holy CrossWorcesterUSA
  3. 3.Department of Mathematics, Statistics and Computer ScienceMount Holyoke CollegeSouth HadleyUSA

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