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Why is gcd important in number theory? 
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#1
Jun2005, 06:47 AM

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I saw someone say this in another thread. Why is it so important? My best guess is that it has something to do with prime factorization, but that's a pretty wild guess.



#2
Jun2005, 07:55 AM

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it was me, right?
Z is a PID The ideal generated by a and b is the ideal generated by thier gcd. sort of a fundamental result. hcf(a,b) is the least, strictly positive element of the set of all things of the form as+bt, s,t in Z, we get euclid's algorithm from thinking about gcds, we start thinking about modulo arithmetic units, coprime objects, groups, rings, ideals, inverses, this leads us on to is factorization always unique, what are primes really. it is just the starting block of number theory, along with the observation that there are a distinguished set of objects called primes. 


#3
Jun2005, 11:33 AM

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yup part of the foundations of numbertheory...coding it is a beauty.



#4
Jun2105, 03:12 AM

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Why is gcd important in number theory?
I just read a little about PIDs. An ideal in Z generated by a is just {a*z : z in Z}? I can't figure out what you mean by: The ideal generated by a and b is the ideal generated by thier gcd. What is the ideal generated by a and b? The union of the ideal generated by each? 


#5
Jun2105, 03:51 AM

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it is the set of all things of the form as+bt for s,t in Z.



#6
Jun2105, 04:11 AM

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#7
Jun2105, 05:00 AM

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it is easy to prove  try it. if you know eulcid's algorithm then it is straightforward.



#9
Jun2105, 07:44 AM

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I don't see how to use it. I haven't really done anything in number theory i.e. I have like no basic theorems. I've got:
For all a in Z, there exists some b and c in Z such that bc = a. (b = a and c = 1 gives me this quickly.) So letting cx = a and cy = b, cxs + cyt = c(xs + yt), so any common factor c of a and b divides as + bt. And I know some c exists because it can just be 1. And I know hcf(a, b) > 0, because 1 is always a common factor. But that's really all I have. Is it all correct? When hcf(a, b) = as + bt = c(xs + yt), I know (xs + yt) is in Z, so c and (xs + yt) are both common factors of hcf(a, b)  and neither are 0. But I seriously can't see how to prove that any common factor of a and b is also a factor of hcf(a, b). How can I prove it? Am I going in the wrong direction? 


#10
Jun2105, 07:57 AM

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what are you trying to prove? the theorem i stated was if d is hcf(a,b) then d is the least positive element of the form as+bt for s and t integers. by euclid's algorithm we know that d=as+bt for some choice of s and t, so all that remians is to show is that d is minimal. well, if c=as+bt for some s and t obviously d divides the RHS and hence c, thus c, if is positive must be greater than d. end of proof. 


#11
Jun2105, 07:58 AM

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Let [tex]S = \{ax + by; x, y \in \mathbb{Z}\}[/tex]. Obviously S contains some positive (nonzero) elements, so there is a smallest positive element [tex]d \in S[/tex]. Let [tex]d = ax_0 + by_0[/tex].
Define [tex]P = \{kd; k \in \mathbb{Z}\}[/tex]. Obviously [tex]P \subseteq S[/tex]. To show [tex]S \subseteq P[/tex] you need the Euclidean algorithm. Suppose that [tex]ax_1 + by_1 = u \in S[/tex]. Write [tex]u = qd + r[/tex], with [tex]q, r[/tex] integers and [tex]0 \leq r < d[/tex]. Notice that [tex]r = qd  u \in S[/tex]. But we can't have [tex]0 < r[/tex], since then r would be a positive element in S, smaller than the smallest positive element in S! Thus r = 0 and [tex]u = qd \in P[/tex], so that [tex]S \subseteq P[/tex]. Now all you need to establish is that d is a divisor of both a and b (this follows from the equality of P and S), and that every other common divisor of a and b is smaller than d (you can prove that by showing that if w divides a and b, then w divides d). 


#12
Jun2105, 09:24 AM

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#13
Jun2105, 09:28 AM

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because i decl;ared d to be? or do you mean, how do i know that d can be expressed as an integral combination of a and b? welll, that is what euclid's algorithm proves for us automatically. and you used b for two different things. the first one ought to have been an x (which it becomes halfway through the prrof)



#14
Jun2105, 09:28 AM

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#15
Jun2105, 09:30 AM

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Euclid's sodding algorithm does it for you!
there are integers s and t such that hcf(a,b)=as+bt and divisor of a and b divides the RHS (you proved this yourself!) and hence divdes hcf(a,b) 


#16
Jun2105, 09:33 AM

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#18
Jun2105, 09:43 AM

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no, no other factor is expressible in this form. as i proved. the hcf of a and b always divides as+bt. 


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