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I'm trying to factorise a 20-term polynomial of the 4th degree with four variables. Ideally, I'd like to do it by hand, but I get the idea that this is pretty improbable. Can anyone point me to some helpful resources on this subject?

Thanks

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Over what field? –  Qiaochu Yuan Feb 5 '11 at 19:20
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In mathematics, one should avoid saying complex if one just means complicated. –  Rahul Feb 5 '11 at 19:46
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Rahul, noted. Qiaochu, as in real, complex, rational, etc? –  hrickards Feb 5 '11 at 20:07
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2 Answers

up vote 1 down vote accepted

Try Wolfram Alpha.

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Thanks. That seems to work great for slightly less complicated polynomials, but only accepts about half of the polynomial I enter. I'll try downloading a trial version of Mathematica, as that seems to be the engine much of Wolfram Alpha is based on. –  hrickards Feb 5 '11 at 20:10
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My vote goes to Sage, a free (in two senses) incredible piece of software. Also available to try online without installation.

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Sage looks a very interesting FOSS alternative to Mathematica. I would up-vote, but unfortunately don't have enough reputation yet. –  hrickards Feb 5 '11 at 22:21
    
I use it an awful lot nowadays; to my mind it's a rather impressive alternative (all the more for being free) to things like Mathematica, Maple, and Matlab. I've also had great luck getting questions/concerns answered/addressed by the awesome Sage community. –  user4689 Feb 6 '11 at 0:57
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