Vous êtes sur la page 1sur 4



1. Span

Suppose that V is a vector space and S V is a subset. Recall that the vector subspace of V spanned (or generated) by S is, by definition, the minimal subspace of V among all subspaces which contain S. The subspace spanned by S is denoted by S or Span(S).

1.1. Show that S is a subspace of V if and only if S = S .

1.2. Suppose that S 1 and S 2 are two subsets of V . Show that

S 1 S 2 = S 1 + S 2 .

2. Polynomials

We will presently define the space of polynomials (in one variable x with real coefficients). This space is traditionally denoted R[x]. Poly- nomials are not to be confused with “polynomial functions”.

2.1. The space R[x]. Consider the infinite set whose elements are

.}. Of course,

symbols x n for n = 0, 1, 2,

there is an obvious bijection between our set and the set N = {0, 1, 2, of natural numbers and we could just use N, but polynomials look bet-

ter with x than without. By definition, R[x] is “the free vector space on the set {x 0 , x 1 , x 2 ,

Thus, a polynomial is represented by a sum of the form p(x) =

a 0 x 0 + a 1 x 1 + a 2 x 2 +

real numbers and a d = 0.

., i.e. {x 0 , x 1 , x 2 ,


x n ,



x n ,

d i=0 a i x i =

+ a d x d , where a i are

Other notational traditions include not writing x 0 at all, writing x

for x 1 , not writing coefficients which are equal to one and not writ- ing terms with zero coefficient so that the sum looks more like p(x) =

a 0 + a 1 x +

of the polynomial and denoted deg p(x).

+ a d x d (with a d = 0). The number d is called the degree


We denote by R[x] n the subset of of polynomials of degree at most

n, n = 0, 1, 2,

Clearly, there are inclusions

R[x] 0 R[x] 1 ⊂ ··· ⊂ R[x] n R[x] n+1 ⊂ ··· ⊂ R[x]




and R[x] = n=0 R[x] n .

Problem 1. Show that R[x] n is a subspace of R[x], R[x] n is finite

dimensional and dim R R[x] n = n + 1.

2.2. Algebra of polynomials. Directly from the definition we have

a vector space structure on R[x]. In addition to that, there is an oper- ation of multiplication of polynomials which we will presently describe.

Namely, if p(x) =

is the polynomial defined by the formula

i a i x i and q(x) = j b i x j their product, p(x) · q(x)

p(x) · q(x) =


i+j=n a i b j x n

Problem 2. Show that the product defined above is associative, com-

mutative, the polynomial 1 = 1x 0 = x 0 is the multiplicative identity

and the distributive law holds.

3. Polynomial functions

As is well known, polynomials in one variable may be interpreted as functions defined on arbitrary subsets of R. Functions which arise in this way are the polynomial functions. Our goal is to investigate the extent to which a polynomial function determines the polynomial it is associated with. This problem was completely solved by professor Lagrange a long time ago.

3.1. From polynomials to functions. For S R we have the map

fun S : R[x] R S

defined as follows. For p(x) = i a i x i the function fun S (p(x)): S R is given by fun S (p(x))(λ) = i a i λ i . Injectivity of fun S would mean, for example, that the only polynomial which gives rise to the zero function is the zero polynomial. The goal of the following exercises is to show that the map fun S is injective if and only if the subset S is infinite. Although this problem is of set theoretic nature, we will see that its solution is greatly facilitated by application of the methods of linear algebra.

Problem 3. Show that the map fun S is linear and compatible with multiplication, i.e. fun S (p(x) · q(x)) = fun S (p(x)) · fun S (q(x)).



Problem 4. Suppose that V is a vector space,

V 0 V 1 ⊆ ··· ⊆ V i V i+1 ⊆ ··· ⊆ V

.) and inclusions thereof,

such that V = i=0 V i . Let f : V W be a linear map. Show that f is injective if and only if the restriction of f to every V i

are subspaces of V (one for each i = 0, 1, 2,

is injective. (The restriction f to V i is the composition V i V →− W,

where the first map it the inclusion.)


Remark: As a consequence we see that fun S is injective if and only if its restriction fun S : R[x] n R S is injective for every n = 0, 1, 2,

3.2. Professor Lagrange. Suppose that S is a finite subset of R. For s S the (Lagrange) polynomial L S,s (x) is defined by the formula

L S,s (x) =







The polynomial L S,s (x) clearly satisfies

fun S (L S,s (x))(λ) =





Note that the degree of

R[x] ≤|S|−1 .

L S,s (x) is equal to

λ λ = s

= s

|S| − 1,


L S,s (x)

Problem 5. Show that (1) the collection of Lagrange polynomials L S,s (x), s S is linearly independent and, in fact, is a basis of R[x] |S|1 . (2) the Lagrange interpolation formula holds: for p(x) R[x] |S|1

p(x) = fun S (p(x))(s) · L S,s (x).


(3) the Lagrange interpolation formula defines the inverse to the map

fun S : R[x] |S|1 R S i.e. this map is an isomorphism.

Problem 6. Show that the map

fun S : R[x] n R S


(1) injective if and only if n ≤ |S| − 1 (2) surjective if and only if n ≥ |S| − 1.



Problem 7. Show that the map fun S : R[x] R S is injective if and only if the set S is infinite.

Departamento de Matematicas,´

E-mail address:

Universidad de Los Andes