Counting Roots of Polynomials over $\mathbb{Z}/p^2\mathbb{Z}$

Trajan Hammonds, Jeremy Johnson, Angela Patini, Robert M. Walker

Until recently, the only known method of finding the roots of polynomials over prime power rings, other than fields, was brute force. One reason for this is the lack of a division algorithm, obstructing the use of greatest common divisors. Fix a prime $p \in \mathbb{Z}$ and $f \in ( \mathbb{Z}/p^n \mathbb{Z} ) [x]$ any nonzero polynomial of degree $d$ whose coefficients are not all divisible by $p$. For the case $n=2$, we prove a new efficient algorithm to count the roots of $f$ in $\mathbb{Z}/p^2\mathbb{Z}$ within time polynomial in $(d+\operatorname{size}(f)+\log{p})$, and record a concise formula for the number of roots, formulated by Cheng, Gao, Rojas, and Wan.

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