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In
mathematics Mathematics (from Greek: ) includes the study of such topics as numbers (arithmetic and number theory), formulas and related structures (algebra), shapes and spaces in which they are contained (geometry), and quantities and their changes (cal ...
, a finite field or Galois field (so-named in honor of
Évariste Galois Évariste Galois (; ; 25 October 1811 – 31 May 1832) was a French mathematician A mathematician is someone who uses an extensive knowledge of mathematics Mathematics (from Greek: ) includes the study of such topics as numbers ...
) is a
field Field may refer to: Expanses of open ground * Field (agriculture), an area of land used for agricultural purposes * Airfield, an aerodrome that lacks the infrastructure of an airport * Battlefield * Lawn, an area of mowed grass * Meadow, a grassl ...
that contains a finite number of elements. As with any field, a finite field is a set on which the operations of multiplication, addition, subtraction and division are defined and satisfy certain basic rules. The most common examples of finite fields are given by the integers mod when is a
prime number A prime number (or a prime) is a natural number greater than 1 that is not a Product (mathematics), product of two smaller natural numbers. A natural number greater than 1 that is not prime is called a composite number. For example, 5 is prime ...
. The ''order'' of a finite field is its number of elements, which is either a prime number or a
prime power In mathematics Mathematics (from Greek: ) includes the study of such topics as numbers (arithmetic and number theory), formulas and related structures (algebra), shapes and spaces in which they are contained (geometry), and quantities and t ...
. For every prime number and every positive integer there are fields of order p^k, which are all
isomorphic In mathematics Mathematics (from Greek: ) includes the study of such topics as numbers (arithmetic and number theory), formulas and related structures (algebra), shapes and spaces in which they are contained (geometry), and quantities and ...

isomorphic
. Finite fields are fundamental in a number of areas of mathematics and
computer science Computer science deals with the theoretical foundations of information, algorithms and the architectures of its computation as well as practical techniques for their application. Computer science is the study of , , and . Computer science ...
, including
number theory Number theory (or arithmetic or higher arithmetic in older usage) is a branch of devoted primarily to the study of the s and . German mathematician (1777–1855) said, "Mathematics is the queen of the sciences—and number theory is the queen ...

number theory
,
algebraic geometry Algebraic geometry is a branch of mathematics Mathematics (from Greek: ) includes the study of such topics as numbers ( and ), formulas and related structures (), shapes and spaces in which they are contained (), and quantities and thei ...

algebraic geometry
,
Galois theory In mathematics, Galois theory, originally introduced by Évariste Galois, provides a connection between field (mathematics), field theory and group theory. This connection, the fundamental theorem of Galois theory, allows reducing certain problems ...
,
finite geometry A finite geometry is any geometric Geometry (from the grc, γεωμετρία; '' geo-'' "earth", '' -metron'' "measurement") is, with arithmetic, one of the oldest branches of mathematics. It is concerned with properties of space that a ...
,
cryptography Cryptography, or cryptology (from grc, , translit=kryptós "hidden, secret"; and ''graphein'', "to write", or ''-logia ''-logy'' is a suffix in the English language, used with words originally adapted from Ancient Greek ending in (''- ...

cryptography
and
coding theory Coding theory is the study of the properties of codes and their respective fitness for specific applications. Codes are used for data compression, cryptography, error detection and correction, data transmission and data storage. Codes are studied ...
.


Properties

A finite field is a finite set which is a
field Field may refer to: Expanses of open ground * Field (agriculture), an area of land used for agricultural purposes * Airfield, an aerodrome that lacks the infrastructure of an airport * Battlefield * Lawn, an area of mowed grass * Meadow, a grassl ...
; this means that multiplication, addition, subtraction and division (excluding division by zero) are defined and satisfy the rules of arithmetic known as the
field axioms In mathematics, a field is a set (mathematics), set on which addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division (mathematics), division are defined and behave as the corresponding operations on rational number, rational and real numbers do. A ...
. The number of elements of a finite field is called its ''order'' or, sometimes, its ''size''. A finite field of order exists if and only if is a
prime power In mathematics Mathematics (from Greek: ) includes the study of such topics as numbers (arithmetic and number theory), formulas and related structures (algebra), shapes and spaces in which they are contained (geometry), and quantities and t ...
(where is a prime number and is a positive integer). In a field of order , adding copies of any element always results in zero; that is, the
characteristic Characteristic (from the Greek word for a property, attribute or trait Trait may refer to: * Phenotypic trait in biology, which involve genes and characteristics of organisms * Trait (computer programming), a model for structuring object-oriented ...
of the field is . If , all fields of order are
isomorphic In mathematics Mathematics (from Greek: ) includes the study of such topics as numbers (arithmetic and number theory), formulas and related structures (algebra), shapes and spaces in which they are contained (geometry), and quantities and ...

isomorphic
(see below). Moreover, a field cannot contain two different finite subfields with the same order. One may therefore identify all finite fields with the same order, and they are unambiguously denoted \mathbb_, or , where the letters GF stand for "Galois field". In a finite field of order , the
polynomial In mathematics Mathematics (from Ancient Greek, Greek: ) includes the study of such topics as quantity (number theory), mathematical structure, structure (algebra), space (geometry), and calculus, change (mathematical analysis, analysis). I ...

polynomial
has all elements of the finite field as
root In vascular plant Vascular plants (from Latin ''vasculum'': duct), also known as Tracheophyta (the tracheophytes , from Greek τραχεῖα ἀρτηρία ''trācheia artēria'' 'windpipe' + φυτά ''phutá'' 'plants'), form a large grou ...
s. The non-zero elements of a finite field form a
multiplicative group In mathematics Mathematics (from Greek: ) includes the study of such topics as numbers (arithmetic and number theory), formulas and related structures (algebra), shapes and spaces in which they are contained (geometry), and quantities and t ...
. This group is
cyclic Cycle or cyclic may refer to: Anthropology and social sciences * Cyclic history, a theory of history * Cyclical theory, a theory of American political history associated with Arthur Schlesinger, Sr. * Social cycle, various cycles in social scienc ...

cyclic
, so all non-zero elements can be expressed as powers of a single element called a primitive element of the field. (In general there will be several primitive elements for a given field.) The simplest examples of finite fields are the fields of prime order: for each
prime number A prime number (or a prime) is a natural number greater than 1 that is not a Product (mathematics), product of two smaller natural numbers. A natural number greater than 1 that is not prime is called a composite number. For example, 5 is prime ...
, the
prime field In mathematics Mathematics (from Ancient Greek, Greek: ) includes the study of such topics as quantity (number theory), mathematical structure, structure (algebra), space (geometry), and calculus, change (mathematical analysis, analysis). It ...
of order , \mathbb_, may be constructed as the integers modulo , . The elements of the prime field of order may be represented by integers in the range . The sum, the difference and the product are the remainder of the division by of the result of the corresponding integer operation. The multiplicative inverse of an element may be computed by using the extended Euclidean algorithm (see ). Let be a finite field. For any element in and any
integer An integer (from the Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language A classical language is a language A language is a structured system of communication Communication (from Latin ''communicare'', meaning "to share" or "to ...
, denote by the sum of copies of . The least positive such that is the characteristic of the field. This allows defining a multiplication (k,x)\mapsto k\cdot x of an element of by an element of by choosing an integer representative for . This multiplication makes into a -
vector space In mathematics Mathematics (from Greek: ) includes the study of such topics as numbers (arithmetic and number theory), formulas and related structures (algebra), shapes and spaces in which they are contained (geometry), and quantities a ...
. It follows that the number of elements of is for some integer . The
identity Identity may refer to: Social sciences * Identity (social science), personhood or group affiliation in psychology and sociology Group expression and affiliation * Cultural identity, a person's self-affiliation (or categorization by others ...
:(x+y)^p=x^p+y^p (sometimes called the
freshman's dream The freshman's dream is a name sometimes given to the erroneous equation (''x'' + ''y'')''n'' = ''x'n'' + ''y'n'', where ''n'' is a real number (usually a positive integer greater than 1). Beginning students com ...
) is true in a field of characteristic . This follows from the
binomial theorem In elementary algebra Elementary algebra encompasses some of the basic concepts of algebra, one of the main branches of mathematics. It is typically taught to secondary school students and builds on their understanding of arithmetic. Whereas a ...
, as each
binomial coefficient In mathematics Mathematics (from Greek: ) includes the study of such topics as numbers ( and ), formulas and related structures (), shapes and spaces in which they are contained (), and quantities and their changes ( and ). There is no g ...
of the expansion of , except the first and the last, is a multiple of . By
Fermat's little theorem Fermat's little theorem states that if is a prime number A prime number (or a prime) is a natural number greater than 1 that is not a Product (mathematics), product of two smaller natural numbers. A natural number greater than 1 that is not ...
, if is a prime number and is in the field then . This implies the equality :X^p-X=\prod_ (X-a) for polynomials over . More generally, every element in satisfies the polynomial equation . Any finite field extension of a finite field is separable and simple. That is, if is a finite field and is a subfield of , then is obtained from by adjoining a single element whose
minimal polynomial In mathematics, especially in the field of algebra, a polynomial ring or polynomial algebra is a ring (mathematics), ring (which is also a commutative algebra (structure), commutative algebra) formed from the Set (mathematics), set of polynomial ...
is separable. To use a jargon, finite fields are
perfect Perfect commonly refers to: * Perfection, a philosophical concept * Perfect (grammar), a grammatical category in certain languages Perfect may also refer to: Film * Perfect (1985 film), ''Perfect'' (1985 film), a romantic drama * Perfect (2018 ...
. A more general algebraic structure that satisfies all the other axioms of a field, but whose multiplication is not required to be commutative, is called a
division ring In algebra Algebra (from ar, الجبر, lit=reunion of broken parts, bonesetting, translit=al-jabr) is one of the areas of mathematics, broad areas of mathematics, together with number theory, geometry and mathematical analysis, analysis. In ...
(or sometimes ''skew field''). By
Wedderburn's little theoremIn mathematics Mathematics (from Ancient Greek, Greek: ) includes the study of such topics as quantity (number theory), mathematical structure, structure (algebra), space (geometry), and calculus, change (mathematical analysis, analysis). It ha ...
, any finite division ring is commutative, and hence is a finite field.


Existence and uniqueness

Let be a
prime power In mathematics Mathematics (from Greek: ) includes the study of such topics as numbers (arithmetic and number theory), formulas and related structures (algebra), shapes and spaces in which they are contained (geometry), and quantities and t ...
, and be the
splitting field In abstract algebra, a splitting field of a polynomial with coefficients in a field (mathematics), field is the smallest field extension of that field over which the polynomial ''splits'' or decomposes into linear factors. Definition A splitting f ...
of the polynomial :P=X^q-X over the prime field . This means that is a finite field of lowest order, in which has distinct roots (the
formal derivative In mathematics Mathematics (from Greek: ) includes the study of such topics as numbers (arithmetic and number theory), formulas and related structures (algebra), shapes and spaces in which they are contained (geometry), and quantities and the ...
of is , implying that , which in general implies that the splitting field is a
separable extension In field theory, a subfield of algebra Algebra (from ar, الجبر, lit=reunion of broken parts, bonesetting, translit=al-jabr) is one of the areas of mathematics, broad areas of mathematics, together with number theory, geometry and mathema ...
of the original). The above identity shows that the sum and the product of two roots of are roots of , as well as the multiplicative inverse of a root of . In other words, the roots of form a field of order , which is equal to by the minimality of the splitting field. The uniqueness up to isomorphism of splitting fields implies thus that all fields of order are isomorphic. Also, if a field has a field of order as a subfield, its elements are the roots of , and cannot contain another subfield of order . In summary, we have the following classification theorem first proved in 1893 by E. H. Moore: ::''The order of a finite field is a prime power. For every prime power'' ''there are fields of order'' , ''and they are all isomorphic. In these fields, every element satisfies'' :::x^q=x, ::''and the polynomial'' ''factors as'' :::X^q-X= \prod_ (X-a). It follows that contains a subfield isomorphic to if and only if is a divisor of ; in that case, this subfield is unique. In fact, the polynomial divides if and only if is a divisor of .


Explicit construction


Non-prime fields

Given a prime power with prime and , the field may be explicitly constructed in the following way. One first chooses an irreducible polynomial in of degree (such an irreducible polynomial always exists). Then the quotient ring :(q) = (p)[X]/(P) of the polynomial ring by the ideal generated by is a field of order . More explicitly, the elements of are the polynomials over whose degree is strictly less than . The addition and the subtraction are those of polynomials over . The product of two elements is the remainder of the Euclidean division of polynomials, Euclidean division by of the product in . The multiplicative inverse of a non-zero element may be computed with the extended Euclidean algorithm; see Extended Euclidean algorithm#Simple algebraic field extensions, Extended Euclidean algorithm § Simple algebraic field extensions. Except in the construction of , there are several possible choices for , which produce isomorphic results. To simplify the Euclidean division, one commonly chooses for a polynomial of the form :X^n+aX+b, which make the needed Euclidean divisions very efficient. However, for some fields, typically in characteristic , irreducible polynomials of the form may not exist. In characteristic , if the polynomial is reducible, it is recommended to choose with the lowest possible that makes the polynomial irreducible. If all these trinomials are reducible, one chooses "pentanomials" , as polynomials of degree greater than , with an even number of terms, are never irreducible in characteristic , having as a root. A possible choice for such a polynomial is given by Conway polynomial (finite fields), Conway polynomials. They ensure a certain compatibility between the representation of a field and the representations of its subfields. In the next sections, we will show how the general construction method outlined above works for small finite fields.


Field with four elements

The smallest non-prime field is the field with four elements, which is commonly denoted or \mathbb F_4. It consists of the four elements 0, 1, \alpha, 1+\alpha such that \alpha^2=1+\alpha, 1\cdot\alpha = \alpha \cdot 1 = \alpha, x+x=0, and x\cdot 0=0\cdot x=0, for every x\in \operatorname(4), the other operation results being easily deduced from the distributive law. See below for the complete operation tables. This may be deduced as follows from the results of the preceding section. Over , there is only one irreducible polynomial of degree : :X^2+X+1 Therefore, for the construction of the preceding section must involve this polynomial, and :(4) = (2)[X]/(X^2+X+1). Let denote a root of this polynomial in . This implies that : and that and are the elements of that are not in . The tables of the operations in result from this, and are as follows: A table for subtraction is not given, because subtraction is identical to addition, as is the case for every field of characteristic 2. In the third table, for the division of by , the values of must be read in the left column, and the values of in the top row. (Because for every in every Ring (mathematics), ring the division by 0 has to remain undefined.) The map : \varphi:x \mapsto x^2 is the non-trivial field automorphism, called #Frobenius automorphism and Galois theory , Frobenius automorphism, which sends into the second root of the above mentioned irreducible polynomial X^2+X+1.


GF(''p''2) for an odd prime ''p''

For applying the #Non-prime fields, above general construction of finite fields in the case of , one has to find an irreducible polynomial of degree 2. For , this has been done in the preceding section. If is an odd prime, there are always irreducible polynomials of the form , with in . More precisely, the polynomial is irreducible over if and only if is a quadratic non-residue modulo (this is almost the definition of a quadratic non-residue). There are quadratic non-residues modulo . For example, is a quadratic non-residue for , and is a quadratic non-residue for . If , that is , one may choose as a quadratic non-residue, which allows us to have a very simple irreducible polynomial . Having chosen a quadratic non-residue , let be a symbolic square root of , that is a symbol which has the property , in the same way as the complex number is a symbolic square root of . Then, the elements of are all the linear expressions :a+b\alpha, with and in . The operations on are defined as follows (the operations between elements of represented by Latin letters are the operations in ): : \begin -(a+b\alpha)&=-a+(-b)\alpha\\ (a+b\alpha)+(c+d\alpha)&=(a+c)+(b+d)\alpha\\ (a+b\alpha)(c+d\alpha)&=(ac + rbd)+ (ad+bc)\alpha\\ (a+b\alpha)^&=a(a^2-rb^2)^+(-b)(a^2-rb^2)^\alpha \end


GF(8) and GF(27)

The polynomial :X^3-X-1 is irreducible over and , that is, it is irreducible modulo and (to show this, it suffices to show that it has no root in nor in ). It follows that the elements of and may be represented by expression (mathematics), expressions :a+b\alpha+c\alpha^2, where are elements of or (respectively), and \alpha is a symbol such that :\alpha^3=\alpha+1. The addition, additive inverse and multiplication on and may thus be defined as follows; in following formulas, the operations between elements of or , represented by Latin letters, are the operations in or , respectively: : \begin -(a+b\alpha+c\alpha^2)&=-a+(-b)\alpha+(-c)\alpha^2 \qquad\text \mathrm(8), \text\\ (a+b\alpha+c\alpha^2)+(d+e\alpha+f\alpha^2)&=(a+d)+(b+e)\alpha+(c+f)\alpha^2\\ (a+b\alpha+c\alpha^2)(d+e\alpha+f\alpha^2)&=(ad + bf+ce)+ (ae+bd+bf+ce+cf)\alpha+(af+be+cd+cf)\alpha^2 \end


GF(16)

The polynomial :X^4+X+1 is irreducible over , that is, it is irreducible modulo . It follows that the elements of may be represented by expression (mathematics), expressions :a+b\alpha+c\alpha^2+d\alpha^3, where are either or (elements of ), and is a symbol such that :\alpha^4=\alpha+1 (that is, is defined as a root of the given irreducible polynomial). As the characteristic of is , each element is its additive inverse in . The addition and multiplication on may be defined as follows; in following formulas, the operations between elements of , represented by Latin letters are the operations in . : \begin (a+b\alpha+c\alpha^2+d\alpha^3)+(e+f\alpha+g\alpha^2+h\alpha^3)&=(a+e)+(b+f)\alpha+(c+g)\alpha^2+(d+h)\alpha^3\\ (a+b\alpha+c\alpha^2+d\alpha^3)(e+f\alpha+g\alpha^2+h\alpha^3)&=(ae+bh+cg+df) +(af+be+bh+cg+df +ch+dg)\alpha\;+\\ &\quad\;(ag+bf+ce +ch+dg+dh)\alpha^2 +(ah+bg+cf+de +dh)\alpha^3 \end The field has eight primitive element (finite field), primitive elements (the elements that have all nonzero elements of as integer powers). These elements are the four roots of X^4+X+1 and their multiplicative inverses. In particular, is a primitive element, and the primitive elements are \alpha^m with less than and coprime with 15 (that is, 1, 2, 4, 7, 8, 11, 13, 14).


Multiplicative structure

The set of non-zero elements in is an abelian group under the multiplication, of order . By Lagrange's theorem (group theory), Lagrange's theorem, there exists a divisor of such that for every non-zero in . As the equation has at most solutions in any field, is the lowest possible value for . The Abelian group#Classification, structure theorem of finite abelian groups implies that this multiplicative group is
cyclic Cycle or cyclic may refer to: Anthropology and social sciences * Cyclic history, a theory of history * Cyclical theory, a theory of American political history associated with Arthur Schlesinger, Sr. * Social cycle, various cycles in social scienc ...

cyclic
, that is, all non-zero elements are powers of a single element. In summary: :''The multiplicative group of the non-zero elements in'' ''is cyclic, and there exists an element'' , ''such that the'' ''non-zero elements of'' ''are'' . Such an element is called a primitive element. Unless , the primitive element is not unique. The number of primitive elements is where is Euler's totient function. The result above implies that for every in . The particular case where is prime is
Fermat's little theorem Fermat's little theorem states that if is a prime number A prime number (or a prime) is a natural number greater than 1 that is not a Product (mathematics), product of two smaller natural numbers. A natural number greater than 1 that is not ...
.


Discrete logarithm

If is a primitive element in , then for any non-zero element in , there is a unique integer with such that :. This integer is called the discrete logarithm of to the base . While can be computed very quickly, for example using exponentiation by squaring, there is no known efficient algorithm for computing the inverse operation, the discrete logarithm. This has been used in various cryptographic protocols, see Discrete logarithm for details. When the nonzero elements of are represented by their discrete logarithms, multiplication and division are easy, as they reduce to addition and subtraction modulo . However, addition amounts to computing the discrete logarithm of . The identity : allows one to solve this problem by constructing the table of the discrete logarithms of , called Zech's logarithms, for (it is convenient to define the discrete logarithm of zero as being ). Zech's logarithms are useful for large computations, such as linear algebra over medium-sized fields, that is, fields that are sufficiently large for making natural algorithms inefficient, but not too large, as one has to pre-compute a table of the same size as the order of the field.


Roots of unity

Every nonzero element of a finite field is a root of unity, as for every nonzero element of . If is a positive integer, an th primitive root of unity is a solution of the equation that is not a solution of the equation for any positive integer . If is a th primitive root of unity in a field , then contains all the roots of unity, which are . The field contains a th primitive root of unity if and only if is a divisor of ; if is a divisor of , then the number of primitive th roots of unity in is (Euler's totient function). The number of th roots of unity in is . In a field of characteristic , every th root of unity is also a th root of unity. It follows that primitive th roots of unity never exist in a field of characteristic . On the other hand, if is coprime to , the roots of the th cyclotomic polynomial are distinct in every field of characteristic , as this polynomial is a divisor of , whose discriminant is nonzero modulo . It follows that the th cyclotomic polynomial factors over into distinct irreducible polynomials that have all the same degree, say , and that is the smallest field of characteristic that contains the th primitive roots of unity.


Example: GF(64)

The field has several interesting properties that smaller fields do not share: it has two subfields such that neither is contained in the other; not all generators (elements with
minimal polynomial In mathematics, especially in the field of algebra, a polynomial ring or polynomial algebra is a ring (mathematics), ring (which is also a commutative algebra (structure), commutative algebra) formed from the Set (mathematics), set of polynomial ...
of degree over ) are primitive elements; and the primitive elements are not all conjugate under the Galois group. The order of this field being , and the divisors of being , the subfields of are , , , and itself. As and are coprime, the intersection of and in is the prime field . The union of and has thus elements. The remaining elements of generate in the sense that no other subfield contains any of them. It follows that they are roots of irreducible polynomials of degree over . This implies that, over , there are exactly irreducible monic polynomials of degree . This may be verified by factoring over . The elements of are primitive th roots of unity for some dividing . As the 3rd and the 7th roots of unity belong to and , respectively, the generators are primitive th roots of unity for some in . Euler's totient function shows that there are primitive th roots of unity, primitive st roots of unity, and primitive rd roots of unity. Summing these numbers, one finds again elements. By factoring the cyclotomic polynomials over , one finds that: * The six primitive th roots of unity are roots of ::X^6+X^3+1, :and are all conjugate under the action of the Galois group. * The twelve primitive st roots of unity are roots of ::(X^6+X^4+X^2+X+1)(X^6+X^5+X^4+X^2+1). :They form two orbits under the action of the Galois group. As the two factors are reciprocal polynomial, reciprocal to each other, a root and its (multiplicative) inverse do not belong to the same orbit. * The primitive elements of are the roots of ::(X^6+X^4+X^3+X+1)(X^6+X+1)(X^6+X^5+1)(X^6+X^5+X^3+X^2+1)(X^6+X^5+X^2+X+1)(X^6+X^5+X^4+X+1), :They split into six orbits of six elements each under the action of the Galois group. This shows that the best choice to construct is to define it as . In fact, this generator is a primitive element, and this polynomial is the irreducible polynomial that produces the easiest Euclidean division.


Frobenius automorphism and Galois theory

In this section, is a prime number, and is a power of . In , the identity implies that the map : \varphi:x \mapsto x^p is a -linear map, linear endomorphism and a field automorphism of , which fixes every element of the subfield . It is called the Frobenius automorphism, after Ferdinand Georg Frobenius. Denoting by the function composition, composition of with itself times, we have : \varphi^k:x \mapsto x^. It has been shown in the preceding section that is the identity. For , the automorphism is not the identity, as, otherwise, the polynomial :X^-X would have more than roots. There are no other -automorphisms of . In other words, has exactly -automorphisms, which are :\mathrm=\varphi^0, \varphi, \varphi^2, \ldots, \varphi^. In terms of
Galois theory In mathematics, Galois theory, originally introduced by Évariste Galois, provides a connection between field (mathematics), field theory and group theory. This connection, the fundamental theorem of Galois theory, allows reducing certain problems ...
, this means that is a Galois extension of , which has a
cyclic Cycle or cyclic may refer to: Anthropology and social sciences * Cyclic history, a theory of history * Cyclical theory, a theory of American political history associated with Arthur Schlesinger, Sr. * Social cycle, various cycles in social scienc ...

cyclic
Galois group. The fact that the Frobenius map is surjective implies that every finite field is
perfect Perfect commonly refers to: * Perfection, a philosophical concept * Perfect (grammar), a grammatical category in certain languages Perfect may also refer to: Film * Perfect (1985 film), ''Perfect'' (1985 film), a romantic drama * Perfect (2018 ...
.


Polynomial factorization

If is a finite field, a non-constant monic polynomial with coefficients in is irreducible polynomial, irreducible over , if it is not the product of two non-constant monic polynomials, with coefficients in . As every polynomial ring over a field is a unique factorization domain, every monic polynomial over a finite field may be factored in a unique way (up to the order of the factors) into a product of irreducible monic polynomials. There are efficient algorithms for testing polynomial irreducibility and factoring polynomials over finite field. They are a key step for factoring polynomials over the integers or the rational numbers. At least for this reason, every computer algebra system has functions for factoring polynomials over finite fields, or, at least, over finite prime fields.


Irreducible polynomials of a given degree

The polynomial :X^q-X factors into linear factors over a field of order . More precisely, this polynomial is the product of all monic polynomials of degree one over a field of order . This implies that, if then is the product of all monic irreducible polynomials over , whose degree divides . In fact, if is an irreducible factor over of , its degree divides , as its
splitting field In abstract algebra, a splitting field of a polynomial with coefficients in a field (mathematics), field is the smallest field extension of that field over which the polynomial ''splits'' or decomposes into linear factors. Definition A splitting f ...
is contained in . Conversely, if is an irreducible monic polynomial over of degree dividing , it defines a field extension of degree , which is contained in , and all roots of belong to , and are roots of ; thus divides . As does not have any multiple factor, it is thus the product of all the irreducible monic polynomials that divide it. This property is used to compute the product of the irreducible factors of each degree of polynomials over ; see Distinct degree factorization.


Number of monic irreducible polynomials of a given degree over a finite field

The number of monic irreducible polynomials of degree over is given by :N(q,n)=\frac\sum_ \mu(d)q^, where is the Möbius function. This formula is almost a direct consequence of above property of . By the above formula, the number of irreducible (not necessarily monic) polynomials of degree over is . A (slightly simpler) lower bound for is :N(q,n)\geq\frac \left(q^n-\sum_ q^\right). One may easily deduce that, for every and every , there is at least one irreducible polynomial of degree over . This lower bound is sharp for .


Applications

In
cryptography Cryptography, or cryptology (from grc, , translit=kryptós "hidden, secret"; and ''graphein'', "to write", or ''-logia ''-logy'' is a suffix in the English language, used with words originally adapted from Ancient Greek ending in (''- ...

cryptography
, the difficulty of the discrete logarithm problem in finite fields or in elliptic curves is the basis of several widely used protocols, such as the Diffie–Hellman protocol. For example, in 2014, a secure internet connection to Wikipedia involved the elliptic curve Diffie–Hellman protocol (ECDHE) over a large finite field. In
coding theory Coding theory is the study of the properties of codes and their respective fitness for specific applications. Codes are used for data compression, cryptography, error detection and correction, data transmission and data storage. Codes are studied ...
, many codes are constructed as linear subspace, subspaces of
vector space In mathematics Mathematics (from Greek: ) includes the study of such topics as numbers (arithmetic and number theory), formulas and related structures (algebra), shapes and spaces in which they are contained (geometry), and quantities a ...
s over finite fields. Finite fields are used by many Error correction code, error correction codes, such as Reed–Solomon error correction, Reed–Solomon error correction code or BCH code. The finite field almost always has characteristic of 2, since computer data is stored in binary. For example, a byte of data can be interpreted as an element of GF(2^8). One exception is PDF417 bar code, which is GF(929). Some CPUs have special instructions that can be useful for finite fields of characteristic 2, generally variations of carry-less product. Finite fields are widely used in
number theory Number theory (or arithmetic or higher arithmetic in older usage) is a branch of devoted primarily to the study of the s and . German mathematician (1777–1855) said, "Mathematics is the queen of the sciences—and number theory is the queen ...

number theory
, as many problems over the integers may be solved by reducing them modular arithmetic, modulo one or several
prime number A prime number (or a prime) is a natural number greater than 1 that is not a Product (mathematics), product of two smaller natural numbers. A natural number greater than 1 that is not prime is called a composite number. For example, 5 is prime ...
s. For example, the fastest known algorithms for polynomial factorization and linear algebra over the field of rational numbers proceed by reduction modulo one or several primes, and then reconstruction of the solution by using Chinese remainder theorem, Hensel lifting or the LLL algorithm. Similarly many theoretical problems in number theory can be solved by considering their reductions modulo some or all prime numbers. See, for example, Hasse principle. Many recent developments of
algebraic geometry Algebraic geometry is a branch of mathematics Mathematics (from Greek: ) includes the study of such topics as numbers ( and ), formulas and related structures (), shapes and spaces in which they are contained (), and quantities and thei ...

algebraic geometry
were motivated by the need to enlarge the power of these modular methods. Wiles' proof of Fermat's Last Theorem is an example of a deep result involving many mathematical tools, including finite fields. The Weil conjectures concern the number of points on Algebraic variety, algebraic varieties over finite fields and the theory has many applications including Exponential sum, exponential and character sum estimates. Finite fields have widespread application in combinatorics, two well known examples being the definition of Paley graph, Paley Graphs and the related construction for Paley construction, Hadamard Matrices. In arithmetic combinatorics finite fields and finite field models are used extensively, such as in Szemerédi's theorem on arithmetic progressions.


Extensions


Algebraic closure

A finite field is not algebraically closed: the polynomial :f(T)=1+\prod_ (T-\alpha), has no roots in , since for all in . Fix an algebraic closure \overline_q of \mathbb_q. The map \varphi_q \colon \overline_q \to \overline_q sending each to is called the th power Frobenius automorphism. The subfield of \overline_q fixed by the th iterate of \varphi_q is the set of zeros of the polynomial , which has distinct roots since its derivative in \mathbb_q[x] is , which is never zero. Therefore that subfield has elements, so it is the unique copy of \mathbb_ in \overline_q. Every finite extension of \mathbb_q in \overline_q is this \mathbb_ for some , so :\overline_q = \bigcup_ \mathbb_. The absolute Galois group of \mathbb_q is the profinite group :\operatorname(\overline_q/\mathbb_q) \simeq \varprojlim_n \operatorname(\overline_/\mathbb_q) \simeq \varprojlim_n (\mathbf/n\mathbf) = \widehat. Like any infinite Galois group, \operatorname(\overline_q/\mathbb_q) may be equipped with the Krull topology, and then the isomorphisms just given are isomorphisms of topological groups. The image of \varphi_q in the group \operatorname(\overline_/\mathbb_q) \simeq \mathbf/n\mathbf is the generator , so \varphi_q corresponds to 1 \in \widehat. It follows that \varphi_q has infinite order and generates a dense subgroup of \operatorname(\overline_q/\mathbb_q), not the whole group, because the element 1 \in \widehat has infinite order and generates the dense subgroup \mathbf \subsetneqq \widehat. One says that \varphi_q is a topological generator of \operatorname(\overline_q/\mathbb_q).


Quasi-algebraic closure

Although finite fields are not algebraically closed, they are Quasi-algebraically closed field, quasi-algebraically closed, which means that every homogeneous polynomial over a finite field has a non-trivial zero whose components are in the field if the number of its variables is more than its degree. This was a conjecture of Emil Artin, Artin and Leonard Eugene Dickson, Dickson proved by Claude Chevalley, Chevalley (see Chevalley–Warning theorem).


Wedderburn's little theorem

A
division ring In algebra Algebra (from ar, الجبر, lit=reunion of broken parts, bonesetting, translit=al-jabr) is one of the areas of mathematics, broad areas of mathematics, together with number theory, geometry and mathematical analysis, analysis. In ...
is a generalization of field. Division rings are not assumed to be commutative. There are no non-commutative finite division rings:
Wedderburn's little theoremIn mathematics Mathematics (from Ancient Greek, Greek: ) includes the study of such topics as quantity (number theory), mathematical structure, structure (algebra), space (geometry), and calculus, change (mathematical analysis, analysis). It ha ...
states that all finite
division ring In algebra Algebra (from ar, الجبر, lit=reunion of broken parts, bonesetting, translit=al-jabr) is one of the areas of mathematics, broad areas of mathematics, together with number theory, geometry and mathematical analysis, analysis. In ...
s are commutative, hence finite fields. The result holds even if we relax associativity and consider alternative rings, by the Artin–Zorn theorem.


See also

* Quasi-finite field * Field with one element * Finite field arithmetic * Finite ring * Finite group * Elementary abelian group * Hamming space


Notes


References

* W. H. Bussey (1905) "Galois field tables for ''p''''n'' ≤ 169", Bulletin of the American Mathematical Society 12(1): 22–38, * W. H. Bussey (1910) "Tables of Galois fields of order < 1000", ''Bulletin of the American Mathematical Society'' 16(4): 188–206, * * * * *


External links


Finite Fields
at Wolfram research. {{DEFAULTSORT:Finite Field Finite fields,