Sum of squares of polynomials

Today I went to a talk delivered by a postdoc in the CS department about bilinear complexity. He raised this elementary result:

Theorem. Every polynomial f in \mathbb{C}[x_1,\cdots,x_n] (that means, f is a polynomial in x_1,\cdots,x_n with complex coefficients) can be expressed as a sum of two squares of complex polynomials.

The proof follows directly from the fact:

\displaystyle a = \left( \frac{a+1}{2}\right)^2+\left( \frac{i(a-1)}{2}\right)^2.

Another elementary thing is that:

g(x_1,x_2,y_1,y_2) = x_1^2 y_1^2 + x_1^2 y_2^2 + x_2^2 y_1^2 + x_2^2 y_2^2 is a sum of squares of two polynomials with integer coefficients.

Whether a real polynomial can be written as a sum of squares of real polynomials plays an important role in polynomial optimization. If I have time I will continue this post.

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5 Responses to Sum of squares of polynomials

  1. KKK says:

    Do you need some extra assumptions, e.g. with even degrees? It seems that e.g. x_1 is not a sum of squares.

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