Polynomials in Several Variables - MA574

Location Term Level Credits (ECTS) Current Convenor 2018-19 2019-20
Canterbury Autumn
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6 15 (7.5) DR RJ Shank
Canterbury Spring
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6 15 (7.5)


For delivery to students completing Stage 1 before September 2016:
Pre-requisite: MA322 (Proofs and Numbers), MA323 (Matrices and Probability) or MA326 (Matrices and Computing), and MA553 (Linear Algebra)
Recommended: MA324 (Exploring Mathematics), MA565 (Groups and Rings)
Co-requisite: None

For delivery to students completing Stage 1 after September 2016:
Pre-requisite: MA343 (Algebraic Methods), MA5503 (Groups and Symmetries)
Recommended: MA5514 (Rings and Fields)
Co-requisite: None





This module provides a rigorous foundation for the solution of systems of polynomial equations in many variables. In the 1890s, David Hilbert proved four ground-breaking theorems that prepared the way for Emmy Nöther's famous foundational work in the 1920s on ring theory and ideals in abstract algebra. This module will echo that historical progress, developing Hilbert's theorems and the essential canon of ring theory in the context of polynomial rings. It will take a modern perspective on the subject, using the Gröbner bases developed in the 1960s together with ideas of computer algebra pioneered in the 1980s. The syllabus will include
  • Multivariate polynomials, monomial orders, division algorithm, Gröbner bases;
  • Hilbert's Nullstellensatz and its meaning and consequences for solving polynomials in several variables;
  • Elimination theory and applications;
  • Linear equations over systems of polynomials, syzygies.
  • Details

    This module appears in:

    Contact hours


    Method of assessment

    80% Examination, 20% Coursework

    Preliminary reading

    Adams, Loustaunau, An introduction to Gröbner bases, AMS, 1994
    Cox, Little, O'Shea, Ideals, Varieties and Algorithms, Springer, Undergraduate Texts in Mathematics, 1991
    Hibi, Gröbner bases: Statistics and Software Systems, Springer, 2013

    See the library reading list for this module (Canterbury)

    See the library reading list for this module (Medway)

    Learning outcomes

    On successfully completing the level 6 module students will be able to:
    1 demonstrate systematic understanding of key aspects of polynomials in several variables;
    2 demonstrate the capability to deploy established approaches accurately to analyse and solve problems using a reasonable level of skill in calculation and manipulation of the material in the following areas: solution sets for systems of polynomial equations and the corresponding ideals in the ring of polynomials;
    3 apply key aspects of polynomial in several variables in well-defined contexts, showing judgement in the selection and application of tools and techniques;
    4 show judgement in the selection and application of computer calculation of Gröbner bases.

    The intended generic learning outcomes.
    On successfully completing the level 6 module students will be able to:
    1 manage their own learning and make use of appropriate resources;
    2 understand logical arguments, identifying the assumptions made and the conclusions drawn;
    3 communicate straightforward arguments and conclusions reasonably accurately and clearly;
    4 manage their time and use their organisational skills to plan and implement efficient and effective modes of working;
    5 solve problems relating to qualitative and quantitative information;
    6 make competent use of information technology skills such online resources (Moodle), internet communication;
    7 communicate technical material competently;
    8 demonstrate an increased level of skill in numeracy and computation;
    9 demonstrate the acquisition of the study skills needed for continuing professional development.

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