For questions about finding factors of e.g. integers or polynomials

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86
votes
11answers
5k views

Why does factoring eliminate a hole in the limit?

$$\lim _{x\rightarrow 5}\frac{x^2-25}{x-5} = \lim_{x\rightarrow 5} (x+5)$$ I understand that to evaluate a limit that has a zero ("hole") in the denominator we have to factor and cancel terms, and ...
45
votes
16answers
93k views

What is a real world application of polynomial factoring?

The wife and I are sitting here on a Saturday night doing some algebra homework. We are factoring polynomials and we both had the same thought at the same time: when are we going to use this? I feel ...
31
votes
4answers
2k views

Fermat's Last Theorem and Kummer's Objection

In 1847 Lamé had announced that he had proven Fermat's Last Theorem. This "proof" was based on the unique factorization in $\mathbb{Z}[e^{2\pi i/p}]$. However, Kummer, proved that when $p=23$ we do ...
31
votes
4answers
1k views

Could G. H. Hardy make a product of two primes so big he couldn't find out which?

This question of course began as a slightly irreverent play on the riddle, "Can God make a stone so big He can't lift it?" Then I wondered about the answer. Is it possible to exhibit a number that is ...
28
votes
2answers
3k views

Is factoring polynomials as hard as factoring integers?

There seems to be a consensus that factorization of integers is hard (in some precise computational sense.) Is it known whether polynomial factorization is computationally easy or hard? One thing I ...
27
votes
2answers
2k views

Factorize $(x+1)(x+2)(x+3)(x+6)- 3x^2$

I'm preparing for an exam and was solving a few sample questions when I got this question - Factorize : $$(x+1)(x+2)(x+3)(x+6)- 3x^2$$ I don't really know where to start, but I expanded everything to ...
23
votes
2answers
339 views

Solve $x^4+3x^3+6x+4=0$… easier way?

So I was playing around with solving polynomials last night and realized that I had no idea how to solve a polynomial with no rational roots, such as $$x^4+3x^3+6x+4=0$$ Using the rational roots test, ...
19
votes
0answers
298 views

Irreducibility of $~\frac{x^{6k+2}-x+1}{x^2-x+1}~$ over $\mathbb Q[x]$

The Artin—Schreier polynomial $~x^n-x+1~$ is always irreducible over $\mathbb Q[x]$, unless $n=6k+2$, in which case it seems to have only two factors, one of which is always $x^2-x+1$. The ...
18
votes
4answers
844 views

Find all roots of $\,(x + 1)(x + 2)(x + 3)^2(x + 4)(x + 5) = 360$

The question is to find all complex roots of $$(x + 1)(x + 2)(x + 3)^2(x + 4)(x + 5) = 360$$ and it is meant to be solved by hand. Is there any quick way to solve this using some trick that I'm not ...
18
votes
5answers
5k views

Is there a simple explanation why degree 5 polynomials (and up) are unsolvable?

We can solve (get some kind of answer) equations like: $$ ax^2 + bx + c=0$$ $$ax^3 + bx^2 + cx + d=0$$ $$ax^4 + bx^3 + cx^2 + dx + e=0$$ But why is there no formula for an equation like $$ax^5 + ...
18
votes
1answer
249 views

Factoring $x^n+n$ over $\mathbb{Z}[x]$

I was working on some polynomial irreducibility problems, and eventually got to wondering which positive integers $n$ had the property that $p_n(x)=x^n+n$ is reducible over $\mathbb{Z}[x]$ i.e. can be ...
17
votes
9answers
2k views

Is $83^{27} +1 $ a prime number?

I'm having problems with exercises on proving whether or not a given number is prime. Is $83^{27} + 1$ prime?
17
votes
1answer
676 views

Irreducibility of $x^{n}+x+1$

Motivated by this problem, and KCd's comment on my answer, I am left with the following question: Question: Suppose that $n\not \equiv 2\pmod{3}$. Is $$x^n+x+1$$ irreducible over $\mathbb{Q}$? ...
16
votes
6answers
7k views

Factoring a hard polynomial

This might seem like a basic question but I want a systematic way to factor the following polynomial: $$n^4+6n^3+11n^2+6n+1.$$ I know the answer but I am having a difficult time factoring this ...
16
votes
2answers
1k views

Irreducibility of $x^n-x-1$ over $\mathbb Q$

I want to prove that $p(x):=x^n-x-1 \in \mathbb Q[x]$ for $n\ge 2$ is irreducible. My attempt. GCD of coefficients is $1$, $\mathbb Q$ is the field of fractions of $\mathbb Z$, and $\mathbb Z$ ...
16
votes
4answers
600 views

Are polynomials of the form : $ f_n= x^n+x^{n-1}+\cdots+x^{k+1}+ax^k+ax^{k-1}+\cdots+a$ irreducible over $\mathbb{Z} $?

Is it true that polynomials of the form : $ f_n= x^n+x^{n-1}+\cdots+x^{k+1}+ax^k+ax^{k-1}+\cdots+a$ where $\gcd(n+1,k+1)=1$ , $ a\in \mathbb{Z^{+}}$ , $a$ is odd number , $a>1$, and ...
16
votes
2answers
360 views

Is this olympiad-like question about remainders an open problem?

Suppose that we are given two positive integers $x$ and $y$ such that $$x \mod p \leqslant y \mod p$$ for each prime number $p$. (Here, $x \mod p,\; y \mod p$ stand for the least non-negative ...
15
votes
4answers
810 views

Calculating $\sqrt{28\cdot 29 \cdot 30\cdot 31+1}$

Is it possible to calculate $\sqrt{28 \cdot 29 \cdot 30 \cdot 31 +1}$ without any kind of electronic aid? I tried to factor it using equations like $(x+y)^2=x^2+2xy+y^2$ but it didn't work.
15
votes
4answers
930 views

Factor $x^4 - 11x^2y^2 + y^4$

This is an exercise from Schaum's Outline of Precalculus. It doesn't give a worked solution, just the answer. The question is: Factor $x^4 - 11x^2y^2 + y^4$ The answer is: $(x^2 - 3xy -y^2)(x^2 + ...
15
votes
1answer
631 views

Is factoring polynomials easier than factoring integers? [duplicate]

I was reading the book Algebra: Chapter 0 , by Paolo Aluffi, and came across the following assertion, in page 290, Exercise 5.9: It is in fact much harder to factor integers than integers ...
14
votes
1answer
1k views

Finding smallest and largest prime factor of $\frac{200!}{180!}$

I originally started off by listing all the primes: $p<200$ then trying to calculate the prime factorisation of each (which I realise is a silly thing to do) I believe there must be a simpler way ...
14
votes
2answers
170 views

Simplifying $\sqrt{\underbrace{11\dots1}_{2n\ 1's}-\underbrace{22\dots2}_{n\ 2's}}$

How do I simplify: $$\sqrt{\underbrace{11\dots1}_{2n\ 1's}-\underbrace{22\dots2}_{n\ 2's}}$$ Should I use modulos or should I factor them? Or any I suppose to use combinatorics? Any one have a ...
13
votes
10answers
4k views

Taking Calculus in a few days and I still don't know how to factorize quadratics

Taking Calculus in a few days and I still don't know how to factorize quadratics with a coefficient in front of the 'x' term. I just don't understand any explanation. My teacher gave up and said just ...
12
votes
5answers
1k views

What is the sum of the reciprocal of all of the factors of a number?

Suppose I have some operation $f(n)$ that is given as $$f(n)=\sum_{k\ge1}\frac1{a_k}$$ Where $a_k$ is the $k$th factor of $n$. For example, ...
12
votes
5answers
575 views

How did Euler realize $x^4-4x^3+2x^2+4x+4=(x^2-(2+\alpha)x+1+\sqrt{7}+\alpha)(x^2-(2-\alpha)x+1+\sqrt{7}-\alpha)$?

How did Euler find this factorization? $$\small x^4 − 4x^3 + 2x^2 + 4x + 4=(x^2-(2+\alpha)x+1+\sqrt{7}+\alpha)(x^2-(2-\alpha)x+1+\sqrt{7}-\alpha)$$ where $\alpha = \sqrt{4+2\sqrt{7}}$ I know that ...
12
votes
0answers
568 views

How does a Lehmer Sieve work?

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lehmer_sieve Apparently a Lehmer Sieve was a mechanical device that used chains and pulleys to factor numbers and solve diophantine equations. It once was able to factor ...
11
votes
8answers
644 views

How to factor quadratic $ax^2+bx+c$?

How do I shorten this? How do I have to think? $$ x^2 + x - 2$$ The answer is $$(x+2)(x-1)$$ I don't know how to get to the answer systematically. Could someone explain? Does anyone have a link to ...
11
votes
7answers
532 views

Can someone show me why this factorization is true?

$$x^n - y^n = (x - y)(x^{n-1} + x^{n-2}y + \dots + xy^{n-2} + y^{n-1})$$ Can someone perhaps even use long division to show me how this factorization works? I honestly don't see anyway to "memorize ...
11
votes
3answers
240 views

If $a^4+b^4\in\mathbb Q$ and $a^3+b^3\in\mathbb Q$ and $a^2+b^2\in\mathbb Q$, prove that $a+b\in\mathbb Q$ and $ab\in\mathbb Q$.

If $\begin{cases}a^4+b^4\in\mathbb Q\\ a^3+b^3\in\mathbb Q\\ a^2+b^2\in\mathbb Q\end{cases}$, prove that $a+b\in\mathbb Q$ and $ab\in\mathbb Q$. It is given that $a,b\in\mathbb R$. The proof of ...
11
votes
1answer
552 views

Finding the radical of an integer

Given a number $x = p_1^{e_1}\cdots p_n^{e_n}$ with different primes $p_i$ and exponents $e_i \ge 1$, is there an efficient way to find $p_1\cdots p_n$? I ask this because for polynomials it's ...
11
votes
1answer
156 views

Is there an easy way to factor polynomials with two variables?

On a recent precal test, I saw a question involving the following expression: $$(x+1)^2-y^2$$ Which factored out into: $$(x+y+1)(x-y+1)$$ This wasn't very hard, considering that it was already ...
10
votes
4answers
1k views

Factor $x^4+1$ over $\mathbb{R}$

Factor $x^4+1$ over $\mathbb{R}$ Well, I read this question first wrongly, because the reader is about complex analysis, I did it for $\mathbb{C}$ first. I got. $x^4+1=(x-e^{\pi i/4 })(x-e^{3 ...
10
votes
2answers
508 views

Sum of factors of a huge number.

I recently appeared in a math olympiad and it had this one question which had me stumped. This was a few weeks back and I have been looking for a way to find its answer ever since, but with no ...
10
votes
5answers
1k views

Factor $(a^2+2a)^2-2(a^2+2a)-3$ completely

I have this question that asks to factor this expression completely: $$(a^2+2a)^2-2(a^2+2a)-3$$ My working out: $$a^4+4a^3+4a^2-2a^2-4a-3$$ $$=a^4+4a^3+2a^2-4a-3$$ $$=a^2(a^2+4a-2)-4a-3$$ I am ...
10
votes
5answers
213 views

How to factor $x^6+x^5-3\,x^4+2\,x^3+3\,x^2+x-1$ by hand?

I know that $x^6+x^5-3\,x^4+2\,x^3+3\,x^2+x-1 = (x^4-x^3+x+1)(x^2+2x-1)$ but I would not know how to do that factoring without a software. Some idea? Thank you!
10
votes
3answers
129 views

How can you factor $x^4-6x^3+8x^2+2x-1?$

The original question is: Solve this equation for x: $$(x^2-3x+1)^2-3(x^2-3x+1)+1=x$$ I expanded and simplified it to get $$x^4-6x^3+8x^2+2x-1=0$$ Since neither -1 nor 1 are factors, it appears ...
10
votes
5answers
550 views

Reducibility of $x^{2n} + x^{2n-2} + \cdots + x^{2} + 1$

Just for fun I am experimenting with irreducibility of certain polynomials over the integers. Since $x^4+x^2+1=(x^2-x+1)(x^2+x+1)$, I thought perhaps $x^6+x^4+x^2+1$ is also reducible. Indeed: ...
9
votes
3answers
31k views

Largest prime factor of 600851475143 [duplicate]

I'm trying to use a program to find the largest prime factor of 600851475143. This is for Project Euler here: http://projecteuler.net/problem=3 I first attempted this with the code that goes through ...
9
votes
3answers
394 views

Intuitive understanding of the uniqueness of the Fundamental Theorem of Arithmetic.

Basically I am trying to understand why Fundamental Theorem of Arithmetic (FTA) exists, i.e why a natural number cannot be factored primely in two or more different ways. There are two proofs given ...
9
votes
4answers
959 views

How to determine in polynomial time if a number is a product of two consecutive primes?

How to determine in polynomial time if a number is a product of two consecutive primes? All I can figure out is that if Cramér's conjecture is true, then we can use the AKS primality test to find ...
9
votes
1answer
5k views

Pollard-Strassen Algorithm

I'm aware that the Pollard-Strassen algorithm can be used to find all prime factors of $n$ not exceeding $B$ in $O\big(n^{\epsilon} B^{1/2}\big)$ time. This is really useful because I need to find all ...
9
votes
3answers
1k views

A theorem about prime divisors of generalized Fermat numbers?

A theorem of Édouard Lucas related to the Fermat numbers states that : Any prime divisor $p$ of $F_n=2^{2^n}+1$ is of the form $p=k\cdot 2^{n+2}+1$ whenever $n$ is greater than one. Does anyone ...
9
votes
1answer
204 views

Factoring a couple $5$th degree polynomials

I'm reading an old (1895) textbook on algebra (doing a bit of review), and practicing factoring polynomials. The author started with polynomials where all terms share a common factor, like $4a^2 + 4a ...
9
votes
1answer
410 views

Reducible polynomials in $\mathbb{Z}[X]$

Let $(a_n)_{n\geq 1}$ be a strictly increasing sequence of integers and $k$ an integer different from $0$. There exists among the polynomials $$ (X-a_1)(X-a_2)\cdots(X-a_n)+k,\ n\geq 1 $$ only ...
9
votes
0answers
116 views

Factorize: $a^3(b+c)+b^3(a+c)+c^3(a+b)$.

Factorize: $a^3(b+c)+b^3(a+c)+c^3(a+b)$. I found this question on a high school textbook but it seems impossible to be further factorized. The best I can get is: $a^3(b+c)+b^3(a+c)+c^3(a+b) = ...
8
votes
6answers
331 views

Find $x$ and $y$ in $2^{x-y} + 1 = 2^x,$ where $x,y$ are integers

I have no idea what to do now. Is there any way to find the integers $x$ and $y$ by factoring? Thank you.
8
votes
7answers
646 views

Solve $\sqrt{x+4}-\sqrt{x+1}=1$ for $x$

Can someone give me some hints on how to start solving $\sqrt{x+4}-\sqrt{x+1}=1$ for x? Like I tried to factor it expand it, or even multiplying both sides by its conjugate but nothing comes up ...
8
votes
2answers
625 views

Is 641 the Smallest Factor of any Composite Fermat Number?

Consider the sequence $a_n = 2^{2^n}+1$ of so-called Fermat numbers. It's well known that $a_5$ isn't prime ($a_5 = 641 \cdot 6700417$, this is due to Euler). What I want to know about this sequence ...
8
votes
2answers
727 views

Calculate the number of real roots of $x^8-x^5+x^2-x+1 = 0$

Calculate the number of real roots of $x^8-x^5+x^2-x+1 = 0$ My try: $$\left(x^4-\frac{x}{2}\right)^2+\frac{3}{4}x^2-x+1 = ...
8
votes
1answer
3k views

Simply Explain the General Number Field Sieve

As a beginner to the world of integer factorization, my idea of factoring an integer is to generate a large list of prime numbers below this number and to repeatedly try to divide the integer by these ...