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Let $\mathcal{O}_K$ be the ring of integers of a quadratic extension of $\mathbb{Q}$, and $\alpha$ some nonzero integer. I recently asked why $N(\alpha)=|\mathcal{O}_K/(\alpha)|$, and KcD seemed to imply that there was some approach that led to a set of representatives for $\mathcal{O}_K/(\alpha)$. Greg Martin suggested that $\{0,1,2,…,N(α)−1\}$ would be a complete set of representatives in the Gaussian integer case for $\alpha=a+bi,$ with $(a,b)=1$, though he didn't eludicate why.

By the Chinese remainder theorem it seems sufficient to consider $\alpha$ some prime power. How can one find a set of coset representatives mod $\alpha$?

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Greg did not say those positive integers are a set of representatives in general for cosets of ${\mathbf Z}[i]$. Only when $\alpha$ has relatively prime real and imaginary parts do those integers represent ${\mathbf Z}[i]/(\alpha)$. – KCd Apr 18 '12 at 17:37
Thanks, I've fixed it. – user21725 Apr 18 '12 at 17:56
up vote 1 down vote accepted

In the quadratic case there is a well-known test for showing that a module is an ideal, e.g. see section 2.3 for Lemmermeyer's notes. Then writing the ideal as a $\mathbb Z$-module in Hermite normal form makes the norm obvious - see below. For complete details in the higher degree case see the discussion on Hermite and Smith normal forms in Henri Cohen's A Course in Computational Number Theory.

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Excellent, thank you. – user21725 Apr 18 '12 at 22:57

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