From charlesreid1

Polynomial Representation of Numbers

All of the real numbers of a given radix can also be expressed as a polynomial, where the variable is the radix.

For example, in base 10, we can split a number up into its ones, tens, hundreds, and so on. Suppose we have a number n,


n = 125 = 1 \times 100 + 2 \times 10 + 5 \times 1

This is equivalent to a polynomial representation in terms of the radix (10):


n = 125 = 1 \times 10^2 + 2 \times 10^1 + 5 \times 10^0

and if we replace the 10 with an x, we get a polynomial:


n = 125 = x^2 + 2 x + 5

This generalizes to larger numbers:


n = 3,654,987 = 3 \times 10^6 + 6 \times 10^5 + 5 \times 10^4 + 4 \times 10^3 + 9 \times 10^2 + 8 \times 10^1 + 7 \times 10^0

That's just a polynomial with as many terms as digits, and the unknown x replacing the base:


n = 3 x^6 + 6 x^5 + 5 x^4 + 4 x^3 + 9 x^2 + 8 x + 7

It also generalizes to binary numbers or hex numbers:


n_{2} = 101010 = 1 \times 2^5 + 1 \times 2^3 + 1 \times 2^1 = 42

This number becomes the polynomial:


n_{2} = x^5 + x^3 + x

(where, for binary numbers, the set of possible coefficients is just the set {0,1}.)

Here is a hex number, converted to the equivalent polynomial:


n_{16} = BEEF = B \times 16^3 + E \times 16^2 + E \times 16^1 + F \times 16^0

Replacing the letters with their decimal equivalents, we get the base 10 equivalent number:


11 \times 16^3 + 14 \times 16^2 + 14 \times 16^1 + 15 \times 16^0 = 48,879

Python for Radix Conversions

Note that the radix conversions above (some non-decimal base into decimal base) are straightforward to do with Python - when you create an integer object, you can pass a string containing the number, then pass a second argument that specifies the radix:

$ python

>>> int('101010',2)
42

>>> int('BEEF',16)
48879

>>> int('DEADBEEF',16)
3735928559

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