# Primitive Roots in Finite Fields

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## The Primality Problem

An integer p is prime if p > 1 and all positive numbers other than 1 and p itself cannot divide it.

primes asks if an integer N is a prime number.

Dividing N by 2, 3, . . . ,√

N is not efficient.

The length of N is only log N , but

N = 20.5 log N.

A polynomial-time algorithm for primes was not found until 2002 by Agrawal, Kayal, and Saxena!

We will focus on efficient “probabilistic” algorithms for primes (used in Mathematica, e.g.).

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1: if n = ab for some a, b > 1 then

2: return “composite”;

3: end if

4: for r = 2, 3, . . . , n − 1 do

5: if gcd(n, r) > 1 then

6: return “composite”;

7: end if

8: if r is a prime then

9: Let q be the largest prime factor of r − 1;

10: if q ≥ 4

r log n and n(r−1)/q 6= 1 mod r then

11: break; {Exit the for-loop.}

12: end if

13: end if

14: end for{r − 1 has a prime factor q ≥ 4

r log n.}

15: for a = 1, 2, . . . , 2

r log n do

16: if (x − a)n 6= (xn − a) mod (xr − 1) in Zn[ x ] then

17: return “composite”;

18: end if

19: end for

20: return “prime”; {The only place with “prime” output.}

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## The Primality Problem (concluded)

NP ∩ coNP is the class of problems that have succinct certificates and succinct disqualifications.

– Each “yes” instance has a succinct certificate.

– Each “no” instance has a succinct disqualification.

– No instances have both.

We will see that primes ∈ NP ∩ coNP.

In fact, primes ∈ P as mentioned earlier.

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## Primitive Roots in Finite Fields

Theorem 48 (Lucas and Lehmer (1927)) a A number p > 1 is prime if and only if there is a number 1 < r < p (called the primitive root or generator) such that

1. rp−1 = 1 mod p, and

2. r(p−1)/q 6= 1 mod p for all prime divisors q of p − 1.

We will prove the theorem later.

aFran¸cois Edouard Anatole Lucas (1842–1891); Derrick Henry Lehmer (1905–1991).

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## Pratt’s Theorem

Theorem 49 (Pratt (1975)) primes ∈ NP ∩ coNP.

primes is in coNP because a succinct disqualification is a divisor.

Suppose p is a prime.

p’s certificate includes the r in Theorem 48 (p. 396).

Use recursive doubling to check if rp−1 = 1 mod p in time polynomial in the length of the input, log2 p.

r, r2, r4, . . . mod p, a total of ∼ log2 p steps.

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## The Proof (concluded)

We also need all prime divisors of p − 1: q1, q2, . . . , qk.

Checking r(p−1)/qi 6= 1 mod p is also easy.

Checking q1, q2, . . . , qk are all the divisors of p − 1 is easy.

We still need certificates for the primality of the qi’s.

The complete certificate is recursive and tree-like:

C(p) = (r; q1, C(q1), q2, C(q2), . . . , qk, C(qk)).

C(p) can also be checked in polynomial time.

We next prove that C(p) is succinct.

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## The Succinctness of the Certificate

Lemma 50 The length of C(p) is at most quadratic at 5 log22 p.

This claim holds when p = 2 or p = 3.

In general, p − 1 has k ≤ log2 p prime divisors q1 = 2, q2, . . . , qk.

– Reason: 2k Qk

i=1 qi ≤ p − 1.

C(p) requires: 2 parentheses and 2k < 2 log2 p separators (length at most 2 log2 p long), r (length at most log2 p), q1 = 2 and its certificate 1 (length at most 5 bits), the qi’s (length at most 2 log2 p), and the C(qi)s.

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## The Proof (concluded)

C(p) is succinct because, by induction,

|C(p)| ≤ 5 log2 p + 5 + 5

Xk i=2

log22 qi

≤ 5 log2 p + 5 + 5

ÃXk

i=2

log2 qi

!2

≤ 5 log2 p + 5 + 5 log22 p − 1 2

< 5 log2 p + 5 + 5(log2 p − 1)2

= 5 log22 p + 10 − 5 log2 p ≤ 5 log22 p for p ≥ 4.

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## A Certificate for 23

a

As 7 is a primitive root modulo 23 and 22 = 2 × 11, so C(23) = (7, 2, C(2), 11, C(11)).

As 2 is a primitive root modulo 11 and 10 = 2 × 5, so C(11) = (2, 2, C(2), 5, C(5)).

As 2 is a primitive root modulo 5 and 4 = 22, so C(5) = (2, 2, C(2)).

In summary,

C(23) = (7, 2, C(2), 11, (2, 2, C(2), 5, (2, 2, C(2)))).

aThanks to a lively discussion on April 24, 2008.

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## Basic Modular Arithmetics

a

Let m, n ∈ Z+.

m|n means m divides n and m is n’s divisor.

We call the numbers 0, 1, . . . , n − 1 the residue modulo n.

The greatest common divisor of m and n is denoted gcd(m, n).

The r in Theorem 48 (p. 396) is a primitive root of p.

We now prove the existence of primitive roots and then Theorem 48.

aCarl Friedrich Gauss.

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a

## Totient or Phi Function

Let

Φ(n) = {m : 1 ≤ m < n, gcd(m, n) = 1}

be the set of all positive integers less than n that are prime to n (Zn is a more popular notation).

Φ(12) = {1, 5, 7, 11}.

Define Euler’s function of n to be φ(n) = |Φ(n)|.

φ(p) = p − 1 for prime p, and φ(1) = 1 by convention.

Euler’s function is not expected to be easy to compute without knowing n’s factorization.

aLeonhard Euler (1707–1783).

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

I+Q/

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## Two Properties of Euler’s Function

The inclusion-exclusion principlea can be used to prove the following.

Lemma 51 φ(n) = n Q

p|n(1 − 1p).

If n = pe11pe22 · · · pet` is the prime factorization of n, then φ(n) = n

Y` i=1

µ

1 − 1 pi

.

Corollary 52 φ(mn) = φ(m) φ(n) if gcd(m, n) = 1.

aSee my Discrete Mathematics lecture notes.

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## A Key Lemma

Lemma 53 P

m|n φ(m) = n.

Let Q`

i=1 pkii be the prime factorization of n and consider Y`

i=1

[ φ(1) + φ(pi) + · · · + φ(pkii) ]. (4)

Equation (4) equals n because φ(pki ) = pki − pk−1i by Lemma 51.

Expand Eq. (4) to yield X

k10≤k1,...,k0`≤k`

Y` i=1

φ(pki0i).

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## The Proof (concluded)

By Corollary 52 (p. 406), Y`

i=1

φ(pki0i) = φ

Ã ` Y

i=1

pki0i

! .

So Eq. (4) becomes

X

k10≤k1,...,k`0≤k`

φ

Ã ` Y

i=1

pki0i

! .

Each Q`

i=1 pki0i is a unique divisor of n = Q`

i=1 pkii.

Equation (4) becomes

Xφ(m).

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## All numbers < n

It works, but does it work well?

The ratio of numbers ≤ n relatively prime to n (the white area) is φ(n)/n.

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## The Density Attack for primes (concluded)

When n = pq, where p and q are distinct primes, φ(n)

n = pq − p − q + 1

pq > 1 − 1

q 1 p.

So the ratio of numbers ≤ n not relatively prime to n (the grey area) is < (1/q) + (1/p).

The “density attack” has probability < 2/√

n of factoring n = pq when p ∼ q = O(√

n ).

The “density attack” to factor n = pq hence takes Ω(

n) steps on average when p ∼ q = O(√ n ).

– This running time is exponential: Ω(20.5 log2n).

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## The Chinese Remainder Theorem

Let n = n1n2 · · · nk, where ni are pairwise relatively prime.

For any integers a1, a2, . . . , ak, the set of simultaneous equations

x = a1 mod n1, x = a2 mod n2,

...

x = ak mod nk,

has a unique solution modulo n for the unknown x.

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## Fermat’s “Little” Theorem

a

Lemma 54 For all 0 < a < p, ap−1 = 1 mod p.

Consider aΦ(p) = {am mod p : m ∈ Φ(p)}.

aΦ(p) = Φ(p).

aΦ(p) ⊆ Φ(p) as a remainder must be between 0 and p − 1.

Suppose am = am0 mod p for m > m0, where m, m0 ∈ Φ(p).

That means a(m − m0) = 0 mod p, and p divides a or m − m0, which is impossible.

aPierre de Fermat (1601–1665).

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## The Proof (concluded)

Multiply all the numbers in Φ(p) to yield (p − 1)!.

Multiply all the numbers in aΦ(p) to yield ap−1(p − 1)!.

As aΦ(p) = Φ(p), ap−1(p − 1)! = (p − 1)! mod p.

Finally, ap−1 = 1 mod p because p 6 |(p − 1)!.

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## The Fermat-Euler Theorem

a

Corollary 55 For all a ∈ Φ(n), aφ(n) = 1 mod n.

The proof is similar to that of Lemma 54 (p. 412).

Consider aΦ(n) = {am mod n : m ∈ Φ(n)}.

aΦ(n) = Φ(n).

aΦ(n) ⊆ Φ(n) as a remainder must be between 0 and n − 1 and relatively prime to n.

Suppose am = am0 mod n for m0 < m < n, where m, m0 ∈ Φ(n).

That means a(m − m0) = 0 mod n, and n divides a or m − m0, which is impossible.

aProof by Mr. Wei-Cheng Cheng (R93922108) on November 24, 2004.

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## The Proof (concluded)

Multiply all the numbers in Φ(n) to yield Q

m∈Φ(n) m.

Multiply all the numbers in aΦ(n) to yield aΦ(n) Q

m∈Φ(n) m.

As aΦ(n) = Φ(n), Y

m∈Φ(n)

m = aΦ(n)

 Y

m∈Φ(n)

m

 mod n.

Finally, aΦ(n) = 1 mod n because n 6 | Q

m∈Φ(n) m.

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## An Example

As 12 = 22 × 3,

φ(12) = 12 × µ

1 − 1 2

¶ µ

1 − 1 3

= 4.

In fact, Φ(12) = {1, 5, 7, 11}.

For example,

54 = 625 = 1 mod 12.

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## Exponents

The exponent of m ∈ Φ(p) is the least k ∈ Z+ such that mk = 1 mod p.

Every residue s ∈ Φ(p) has an exponent.

1, s, s2, s3, . . . eventually repeats itself modulo p, say si = sj mod p, which means sj−i = 1 mod p.

If the exponent of m is k and m` = 1 mod p, then k|`.

Otherwise, ` = qk + a for 0 < a < k, and

m` = mqk+a = ma = 1 mod p, a contradiction.

Lemma 56 Any nonzero polynomial of degree k has at most k distinct roots modulo p.

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## Exponents and Primitive Roots

From Fermat’s “little” theorem, all exponents divide p − 1.

A primitive root of p is thus a number with exponent p − 1.

Let R(k) denote the total number of residues in Φ(p) that have exponent k.

We already knew that R(k) = 0 for k 6 |(p − 1).

So X

k|(p−1)

R(k) = p − 1 as every number has an exponent.

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## Size of R(k)

Any a ∈ Φ(p) of exponent k satisfies xk = 1 mod p.

Hence there are at most k residues of exponent k, i.e., R(k) ≤ k, by Lemma 56 (p. 417).

Let s be a residue of exponent k.

1, s, s2, . . . , sk−1 are distinct modulo p.

Otherwise, si = sj mod p with i < j.

Then sj−i = 1 mod p with j − i < k, a contradiction.

As all these k distinct numbers satisfy xk = 1 mod p, they comprise all solutions of xk = 1 mod p.

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## Size of R(k) (continued)

But do all of them have exponent k (i.e., R(k) = k)?

And if not (i.e., R(k) < k), how many of them do?

Suppose ` < k and ` 6∈ Φ(k) with gcd(`, k) = d > 1.

Then

(s`)k/d = (sk)`/d = 1 mod p.

Therefore, s` has exponent at most k/d, which is less than k.

We conclude that

R(k) ≤ φ(k).

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## Size of R(k) (concluded)

Because all p − 1 residues have an exponent, p − 1 = X

k|(p−1)

R(k) ≤ X

k|(p−1)

φ(k) = p − 1

by Lemma 52 (p. 406).

Hence

R(k) =



φ(k) when k|(p − 1) 0 otherwise

In particular, R(p − 1) = φ(p − 1) > 0, and p has at least one primitive root.

This proves one direction of Theorem 48 (p. 396).

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## A Few Calculations

Let p = 13.

From p. 414, we know φ(p − 1) = 4.

Hence R(12) = 4.

Indeed, there are 4 primitive roots of p.

As Φ(p − 1) = {1, 5, 7, 11}, the primitive roots are g1, g5, g7, g11 for any primitive root g.

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## The Other Direction of Theorem 48 (p. 396)

We must show p is a prime only if there is a number r (called primitive root) such that

1. rp−1 = 1 mod p, and

2. r(p−1)/q 6= 1 mod p for all prime divisors q of p − 1.

Suppose p is not a prime.

We proceed to show that no primitive roots exist.

Suppose rp−1 = 1 mod p (note gcd(r, p) = 1).

We will show that the 2nd condition must be violated.

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## The Proof (concluded)

rφ(p) = 1 mod p by the Fermat-Euler theorem (p. 414).

Because p is not a prime, φ(p) < p − 1.

Let k be the smallest integer such that rk = 1 mod p.

Note that k | φ(p) (p. 417).

As k ≤ φ(p), k < p − 1.

Let q be a prime divisor of (p − 1)/k > 1.

Then k|(p − 1)/q.

Therefore, by virtue of the definition of k, r(p−1)/q = 1 mod p.

But this violates the 2nd condition.

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## Function Problems

Decisions problem are yes/no problems (sat, tsp (d), etc.).

Function problems require a solution (a satisfying truth assignment, a best tsp tour, etc.).

Optimization problems are clearly function problems.

What is the relation between function and decision problems?

Which one is harder?

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## Function Problems Cannot Be Easier than Decision Problems

If we know how to generate a solution, we can solve the corresponding decision problem.

– If you can find a satisfying truth assignment efficiently, then sat is in P.

– If you can find the best tsp tour efficiently, then tsp (d) is in P.

But decision problems can be as hard as the corresponding function problems.

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## fsat

fsat is this function problem:

Let φ(x1, x2, . . . , xn) be a boolean expression.

If φ is satisfiable, then return a satisfying truth assignment.

– Otherwise, return “no.”

We next show that if sat ∈ P, then fsat has a polynomial-time algorithm.

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## An Algorithm for fsat Using sat

1: t := ²;

2: if φ ∈ sat then

3: for i = 1, 2, . . . , n do

4: if φ[ xi = true ] ∈ sat then 5: t := t ∪ { xi = true };

6: φ := φ[ xi = true ];

7: else

8: t := t ∪ { xi = false };

9: φ := φ[ xi = false ];

10: end if 11: end for 12: return t;

13: else

14: return “no”;

15: end if

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## Analysis

There are ≤ n + 1 calls to the algorithm for sat.a

Shorter boolean expressions than φ are used in each call to the algorithm for sat.

So if sat can be solved in polynomial time, so can fsat.

Hence sat and fsat are equally hard (or easy).

aContributed by Ms. Eva Ou (R93922132) on November 24, 2004.

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## tsp and tsp (d) Revisited

We are given n cities 1, 2, . . . , n and integer distances dij = dji between any two cities i and j.

tsp asks for a tour with the shortest total distance (not just the shortest total distance, as earlier).

– The shortest total distance must be at most 2| x |, where x is the input.

It is at most P

i,j dij.

tsp (d) asks if there is a tour with a total distance at most B.

We next show that if tsp (d) ∈ P, then tsp has a polynomial-time algorithm.

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## An Algorithm for tsp Using tsp (d)

1: Perform a binary search over interval [ 0, 2| x | ] by calling tsp (d) to obtain the shortest distance, C;

2: for i, j = 1, 2, . . . , n do

3: Call tsp (d) with B = C and dij = C + 1;

4: if “no” then

5: Restore dij to old value; {Edge [ i, j ] is critical.}

6: end if

7: end for

8: return the tour with edges whose dij ≤ C;

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## Analysis

An edge that is not on any optimal tour will be eliminated, with its dij set to C + 1.

An edge which is not on all remaining optimal tours will also be eliminated.

So the algorithm ends with n edges which are not eliminated (why?).

There are O(| x | + n2) calls to the algorithm for tsp (d).

So if tsp (d) can be solved in polynomial time, so can tsp.

Hence tsp (d) and tsp are equally hard (or easy).

Updating...

## References

Related subjects :