Opened 13 years ago

Closed 13 years ago

# improve documentation of xgcd command

Reported by: Owned by: William Stein Alex Ghitza minor sage-4.3 basic arithmetic xgcd docstring sage-4.3.rc0 William Stein Alex Ghitza N/A

### Description

```
On Sun, Nov 22, 2009 at 4:57 PM, Ricky Farr <> wrote:
> Dear All,
>
> I'd like to sincerely thank you for your help before hand.  I'm having
> some issues that need to be straightened out.  I was under the
> impression that xgcd(a,b) returned (g,s,t) so that g = s*a + t*b,
> where g=gcd(a,b).  Please review the following code, and tell me why
> this happens:
>
> sage: Q.<x> = PolynomialRing(ZZ);
> sage: gcd(x-2,x^3+2*x^2);
> 1
> sage: g,s,t = xgcd(x-2,x^3+2*x^2);
> sage: g
> 16
> sage: s*(x-2)+t*(x^3+2*x^2)
> 16
>
> I was under the impression, like I said that g would have been equal
> to 1.  Why is g, 16?

The ring ZZ[x] is not a principal ideal domain (e.g., the ideal (2, x) isn't principal), so xgcd *can't* in general return polynomials s, t such that g = s*a+t*b.    A simple example is a=2*x and b=x^2. Then x is the gcd, but you can't write x as a ZZ[x] linear combination of 2*x and x^2, since the linear term of s*(2*x) + t*x^2 is even.

What it does return is the next best thing, which is s, t such that

s*a + t*b = resultant(a,b),

assuming a, b are coprime (if they aren't, rescale so they are, do the above, then multiply through).

Note that Sage just calls the FLINT library, and this behavior of xgcd is documented there.

I did just maybe (?) find a bug in FLINT though (and certainly one in sage):
sage: gcd(Q(2),x^2)
1
sage: xgcd(Q(2),x^2)
<hang forever>

Doing the same using NTL works fine:
sage: Q.<x> = PolynomialRing(ZZ,implementation="NTL")
sage: type(x)
<type 'sage.rings.polynomial.polynomial_integer_dense_ntl.Polynomial_integer_dense_ntl'>
sage: gcd(Q(2),x^2)
1
sage: xgcd(Q(2),x^2)
(4, 2, 0)
sage: xgcd(x-2, x^3+2*x^2)
(16, -x^2 - 4*x - 8, 1)

--

So, the docs in Sage need to change to correctly define xgcd over a non-PID.  Also, there is maybe a serious bug in FLINT.

-- William
```

### comment:1 Changed 13 years ago by William Stein

Status: new → needs_review

I'm making the xgcd *hang* another ticket: #7518