Graduate Student Seminar, 4:30 pm September 13, 2004; HH127


Dan Bates


Polynomials in Practice


Two years ago, I discussed some of the latest techniques for solving polynomial systems numerically. Last year, I gave everybody a "small dose of polynomial history and culture". Now, in the third installment of this very drawn out k-part series (with 2<k<7), I will discuss how to use polynomials in practice, i.e., on computers.

Basic to any software that manipulates polynomial systems is the internal representation of the polynomials. I will describe some of the ways that polynomials are stored by computer programs (some clever, some not at all) and will focus especially on the advantages of a representation known as the straight-line program. I will demonstrate some wonderful tools, known as yacc and lex (or bison and flex for you open source people), that can be used for parsing polynomials into straight-line programs. If there is time remaining, I will dazzle you with the concept of automatic differentiation. Don't worry - I will not assume any programming background!

To volunteer to give a talk, or for any other questions regarding this schedule, contact Sara Miller