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Introduction to computational algebra

Valery Romanovski

Center for Applied Mathematics and Theoretical Physics,
University of Maribor, Maribor, Slovenia

Consider a system of polynomials


where $f_1,\dots,f_k$ are polynomials with coefficients from some field $k$ (usually, $k$ is the field of real or complex numbers). In algebraic geometry the solution space of system (1) is called the variety. There are many numerical algorithms for solving non-linear systems such as (1). These algorithms solve for one solution at a time, and find an approximation to the solution. They ignore the geometric properties of the solutions space (the variety), and do not take into consideration possible alternate descriptions of the variety (using a different system of polynomials). However recently efficient computational algorithms have been developed which enable us to get algebraic and geometric information about the entire solution space of system (1). They are based on the Gröbner bases theory worked out by B.Buchberger around the middle of 60th of last century. The idea of the methods is to find the "best" representation of the corresponding variety. To illustrate this recall that the Gauss-Jordan elimination method transforms a system of linear equations into the so-called row echelon form. The system thus obtained has exactly the same solutions (the variety) as the original system, but it is trivial to solve. The other example is the system (1) with $f_i$ being polynomials in a single variable, $f_i=f_i(x)$. In this case there is a polynomial $f(x)$ such that the system (1) is equivalent to the equation $f(x)=0$. The polynomial $f(x)$ is the greatest common divisor of $\{f_1,\dots,f_k\}$ and it can be found using the Euclidean Algorithm. Although the Gauss-Jordan elimination method cannot be directly expanded to the case of non-linear polynomials and the Euclidean Algorithm - to the case of multivariable polynomials, it turns out that an expansions of these methods is possible, and, in a sense, the Gröbner bases theory is a generalization of the Gauss-Jordan method and the Euclidean Algorithm to the case of non-linear multivariable polynomials.

In the lecture we give an introduction to the Gröbner bases theory, discuss some algorithms implemented in computer algebra systems (e.g. in Mathematica) and consider a few applications to the theory of dynamics systems, in particular, to the investigation of the time-reversible systems of ODE.

Adams W W and Loustaunau P 1994 An Introduction to Gröbner bases. Graduate Studies in Mathematics.-V.3. RI:AMS.
Becker T and Weispfenning V 1993 Gröbner Bases: A computational Approach to Commutative Algebra. Graduate Texts in Mathematics, V.141. Berlin and New York: Springer-Verlag.
Buchberger B 1985 in Multidimensional Systems Theory, ed. N.K.Boese. D.Reidel Pub. Co., 184-232.
Cox D, Little J, O'Shea D 1992 Ideals, Varieties, and Algorithms. New York: Springer-Verlag.
Jarrah, A, Laubenbacher, R and Romanovski V 2001 The center variety of polynomial differential systems, preprint,

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Next: Rosenblum Up: Abstracts Previous: Robnik