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I have a 169 term degree 8 homogeneous polynomial in 14 variables that I believe can be expressed as a sum of 8 squares. I discovered the other day that methods exist for expressing a polynomial as a sum of squares, but I'm wondering if there is any software available that can do this calculation. Does MATLAB, Mathematica, or Sage have this capability?

I saw this MATLAB library called SOSTOOLS that solves optimization problems having to do with polynomial sums of squares, but I can't tell if it has methods that do what I'm trying to do.

Here's the math behind the method. Let $x$ be a vector of $s$ polynomials that form a basis of the space of polynomials you're working in. Then any polynomial $P$ can be expressed in the form $P=x^tMx$ for some matrix $M$. Let $L$ be the set of all matrices satisfying $x^tLx=0$. Then $\{x^t(M+l)x|l\in L\}$ is the set of all representations of $P$ in this form. If $M+l$ is positive semidefinite with rank $r$, then we can find an $r\times s$ matrix $Q$ satisfying $Q^tQ=M+l$. Then we get $P=(Qx)^t(Qx)$, so we have expressed $P$ as a sum of $r$ squares. $L$ can be parameterized linearly, so this is some sort of linear optimization problem I guess.

In my case, we can let $x$ be the vector of all monomials of degree 4 in my 14 variables. Then we are trying to find positive semidefinite $M+l$ with rank 8.

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  • $\begingroup$ Take a look at this. SOSTOOLS essentially automates the process. There was once a Macaulay2 package that took care of the symbolic part. Does this look like what you want to do? $\endgroup$ – Rodrigo de Azevedo Sep 18 '19 at 6:16
  • $\begingroup$ PARI/GP wasn't cool enough ? $\endgroup$ – Roddy MacPhee Sep 18 '19 at 13:00

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