# Quadratic form

*over a commutative ring with an identity*

A homogeneous polynomial

in variables with coefficients . Usually is the field , or , or else the ring , the ring of integer elements of an algebraic number field or the ring of integers of the completion of an algebraic number field with respect to a non-Archimedian norm.

The symmetric square matrix of order , where , , , is called the Kronecker matrix of the quadratic form ; in Siegel's notation: . If the discriminant of the quadratic form is non-zero, then is said to be a non-degenerate quadratic form, while if it is zero, is called degenerate.

A quadratic form is called Gaussian if it can be expressed in symmetric notation:

that is, there exist for which , . The symmetric square matrix is called the matrix (or Gaussian matrix) of the quadratic form . The quantity is called the determinant of ; in this connection,

If is a field of characteristic distinct from 2, then every quadratic form over is Gaussian. If is imbeddable in a field of characteristic distinct from 2, then a quadratic form over can be regarded as Gaussian, but with matrix over and .

Two quadratic forms and are equivalent over ( ) if one can be obtained from the other by an invertible (with respect to ) linear homogeneous change of variables, that is, if there exists an invertible square matrix over such that . The collection of quadratic forms over equivalent over to a given one is called the class of that quadratic form. The discriminant of the quadratic form is, up to the square of an invertible element in , an invariant of the class.

Another way of looking at quadratic forms is the following. Let be a unital -module; a mapping is called a quadratic mapping (or a quadratic form) on the module if 1) , , ; and 2) the mapping given by

is a bilinear form on . The pair is called a quadratic module. The form is always symmetric.

To each bilinear form on corresponds the quadratic form ; here .

If in the ring the element 2 has an inverse, then is a one-to-one correspondence between the quadratic and symmetric forms on . If is a free -module of rank and is a quadratic form on , then to each basis of corresponds a quadratic form in the classical sense,

where , , . Every quadratic form over is obtained in this way from some quadratic module , and conversely. Under a change of basis the quadratic form is converted to an equivalent one.

An element is said to be representable by the quadratic form (or one says that the form represents ) if is the value of this form for certain values of the variables. Equivalent quadratic forms represent the same elements. A quadratic form over an ordered field is called indefinite if it represents both positive and negative elements, and positive (negative) definite if (respectively ) for all . A non-degenerate quadratic form which represents 0 non-trivially is called isotropic, otherwise it is called anisotropic. Similarly, a quadratic form is called representable by a quadratic form if can be converted to by a substitution of certain linear forms in for the variables in ; that is, if there is a rectangular matrix over such that (there denotes transposition).

## Algebraic theory of quadratic forms.

This is the theory of quadratic forms over fields.

Let be an arbitrary field of characteristic distinct from 2. The problem of representing a form by a form over reduces to the problem of equivalence of forms, because (Pall's theorem) in order that a non-degenerate quadratic form be representable by a non-degenerate quadratic form over , it is necessary and sufficient that there exist a form such that and are equivalent over . Here is the orthogonal direct sum of forms, that is, and have no variables in common.

Witt's cancellation theorem. If , then .

Every quadratic form over is equivalent to a diagonal one:

It will be assumed that and . The number is called the rank of , which is the same as the rank of the matrix . If every element of has a square root, then a quadratic form over is equivalent to the form (the normal form of a quadratic form).

Every non-degenerate quadratic form is equivalent to a form

where is anisotropic; here uniquely determines and the class of the form over , called the anisotropic kernel of (see also Witt decomposition). Two forms and having the same anisotropic kernel are called similar in the sense of Witt. A ring structure can be defined on the classes of similar forms (see Witt ring).

Let be an ordered field (in particular the field ) and suppose that every positive element of is a square. Then every quadratic form is reducible to the form

Here the numbers and (the positive and negative indices of inertia) are uniquely determined by the form (see Law of inertia). Thus, for these fields the problem of equivalence of quadratic forms is solved.

The problem of equivalence over the field reduces to the analogous problem for -adic number fields: In order that and be equivalent over , it is necessary and sufficient that and be equivalent over for all primes and over (the Minkowski–Hasse theorem). A similar assertion holds for -fields — algebraic number fields and fields of algebraic functions in one variable over a finite field of constants. This is a particular case of the Hasse principle. In the field () the problem of equivalence is solved by means of the Hasse invariant.

A quadratic form over a field is called multiplicative over if

where the are rational functions of , over . If, in addition, the are bilinear functions, then the form is said to have a composition. Composition is possible only for the cases (Hurwitz's theorem). There is a simple description of multiplicative forms [16].

The algebraic theory of quadratic forms has been generalized [7] to the case of a field of characteristic 2.

## Arithmetic theory of quadratic forms.

This is the theory of quadratic forms over rings.

This theory arose in connection with problems of solving Diophantine equations of the second degree. The question of solving such equations reduces to the problem of representing integers by an integral quadratic form , that is, the problem of solving the equation in . Algorithms are known which reduce the determination (description) of all solutions of this equation to the problem of equivalence of quadratic forms over , that is, the problem of finding for given quadratic forms and invertible matrices over such that . For such algorithms were constructed by J.L. Lagrange and C.F. Gauss, who created the general theory of binary quadratic forms (cf. Binary quadratic form). They were generalized to arbitrary by H. Smith and H. Minkowski.

One of the central problems of the arithmetic theory is that of finding simple criteria for the existence of representations of a form by a form , that is, criteria for the solutions of the matrix equation

(1) |

and also the problem of constructing a formula for the number of such representations. In this connection, if the number of representations is infinite, then it becomes a question of the number of "essentially different" representations. (Two representations and are identified if , where is an integral automorphism of , that is, .) A necessary condition for the existence of representations is the solvability of (1) over and the solvability over of the matrix congruence

(2) |

for any . (For the solvability of all congruences (2) it is sufficient that (2) be solvable for .) These necessary conditions, called "generic conditions for the solvability of a matrix equationgeneric" , are equivalent to the solvability of (1) over for every prime and over . They are also equivalent to the solvability of (1) over the field of rationals "without an essential denominator" , that is, the existence of a rational solution with common denominator coprime to any pre-assigned integer (it being sufficient to confine oneself to ). The solvability conditions of (2) can be expressed in terms of generic invariants of and . The number of solutions of (2) is found by means of Gauss sums.

The genus of a quadratic form over is the set of quadratic forms over equivalent to one another over for all primes , including . The genus of a quadratic form consists of a finite number of classes with the same discriminant. The genus of a quadratic form can be given by a finite number of generic invariants — order invariants expressed in terms of the elementary divisors of A — and characters of the form . The genus can also be given by the values of Gauss sums. An important role in the theory of quadratic forms is also played by the notion of a spinor genus, a more delicate notion than that of a genus.

The number of essentially different representations of the form by the form is in a simple way related to the number of essentially different primitive representations, that is, representations such that the greatest common divisor of the -th order minors (cf. Minor) of the matrix is 1. For the quantity

(the averaging function of over the genus of ), where are representatives of all classes of the genus of (one from each class), there are formulas (see [11], [15]) expressing in terms of the number of solutions of certain congruences. In case the genus of consists of a single class, these formulas completely solve the question of the number of representations. In the case of genera having several classes, only asymptotic formulas are known for , as well as "precise" formulas for certain concrete quadratic forms.

## Analytic theory of quadratic forms.

Analytic methods were brought into the theory of quadratic forms by P.G.L. Dirichlet. Developing these methods, C.L. Siegel arrived at general formulas for the number of representations of a form by genera of forms.

Let and be positive-definite quadratic forms over .

The number

is called the Siegel mean with respect to the genus for the number of representations of the form by the form . Here is the number of automorphisms of and

is the weight of the genus of . Let

where is a neighbourhood of in the -dimensional space of -ary quadratic forms over , is the corresponding domain of solutions of the matrix equation (1) over , and and are their volumes.

Siegel's formula for the quadratic forms and is

(3) |

where if or , and otherwise. Here

where the limit is taken over those sequences of 's for which any natural number is a divisor of almost-all terms of , is the number of distinct prime divisors of , if , and is the number of representations of by , that is, the number of solutions of the matrix congruence

The following formula holds:

There are a number of equivalent definitions for and an expression (see [17]) in terms of generalized Gauss sums. Formula (3) includes as a special case Minkowski's formula for the weight of the genus:

For the case the latter gives the Dirichlet formula for the number of classes.

Formulas analogous to (3) hold also for indefinite forms and forms with integral algebraic coefficients (see [17], [18]).

An application of the theory of the number of representations of numbers by positive quadratic forms in an even number of variables has been given by E. Hecke [10]. The theory of modular forms (cf. Modular form) enables one to obtain formulas for (see the survey [5]).

The circle method (see [4]) has been applied to the question of the representation of numbers by quadratic forms in four or more variables. If is a positive-definite quadratic form over , then for an application of the circle method leads to the asymptotic formula

Similar asymptotic formulas can also be obtained by the circle method for indefinite quadratic forms with .

For the investigation of in the case , Linnik's discrete ergodic method (cf. Linnik discrete ergodic method) has been applied (see [3], [4]). It is based on the fact that on some set of representations of numbers by ternary quadratic forms, an ergodic flow of the representations can be constructed which is regulated by an operator connected with the problem of the representation of numbers by quaternary quadratic forms. The ergodic method leads (under certain necessary conditions) to an estimate of the type

and in a number of cases asymptotic formulas have also been obtained.

Recent results of H. Iwaniec [22] concerning means of Kloosterman sums lead to the asymptotic formula [23]

where is square-free (or where the square-free part of is bounded). This formula is non-trivial already for . This formula provides an approach to a conjecture of H. Petersson. (Petersson's conjecture has already been proved by P. Deligne for even, see [24].)

## Geometric theory of quadratic forms.

For the study of such questions in the theory of quadratic forms as reduction theory, automorphisms and arithmetic minima of quadratic forms, the method of continuous parameters was developed by Ch. Hermite, which thereupon became an extensive branch of the theory of quadratic forms, namely the geometric theory of quadratic forms, or the geometry of quadratic forms (which can also be regarded as part of the geometry of numbers). The idea of the method consists in the following. With a given -dimensional point lattice some kind of arithmetical quantity is associated and the behaviour of the function is considered under small changes of the parameters of . A characteristic feature of the geometry of quadratic forms is the systematic use of the -dimensional coefficient (parameter) space, in which the lattice is represented by a point. Let

be a quadratic form with real coefficients (). Associated with is the point in -dimensional Euclidean space (where ), called the coefficient space. Then corresponding to the positive-definite form is an open convex cone with vertex at the origin, called the cone of positivity. The lattice is related to the class of equivalent -ary positive-definite quadratic forms; by means of a basis of , the form

is associated with it. Thus, an infinite discrete set of points of has been associated with . If one chooses the correct domain of reduction of positive-definite quadratic forms, then each lattice is uniquely associated with a point of the coefficient space. Small changes in the point correspond to small changes in the parameters of .

The geometric theory of quadratic forms divides up into a number of fairly independent theories related by a single method of investigation. At its foundation is the reduction theory of positive quadratic forms, which, by studying the domains of reduction , solves the problem of the equivalence of positive quadratic forms, one of the central problems in the arithmetical theory of quadratic forms (see Quadratic forms, reduction of).

An essential role is played by the theory of Voronoi lattice types. It has important applications in the theory of parallelohedra. The theory of types has found application in the solution of problems on the most economic lattice covering of an -dimensional space by balls.

Another traditional branch of the geometric theory of quadratic forms is the theory of perfect forms, also created by G.F. Voronoi. This theory allows one to solve the Hermite problem on the arithmetical minima of positive quadratic forms; this is equivalent to the problem on the densest lattice packing of balls in an -dimensional space. The problem on the densest lattice packing of balls and that of the most economic lattice covering by balls are the best known examples of the extremal problems which constitute a significant part of the geometry of quadratic forms.

Also related to the geometric theory of quadratic forms are certain generalizations of the continued fractions algorithm; for example, the algorithm of Voronoi for calculating the units of a cubic field, and the theory of fundamental domains of automorphisms of indefinite quadratic forms.

#### References

[1] | Z.I. Borevich, I.R. Shafarevich, "Number theory" , Acad. Press (1966) (Translated from Russian) (German translation: Birkhäuser, 1966) |

[2a] | B.N. Delone, "The geometry of positive definite quadratic forms" Uspekhi Mat. Nauk , 3 (1937) pp. 16–62 (In Russian) |

[2b] | B.N. Delone, "The geometry of positive definite quadratic forms" Uspekhi Mat. Nauk , 4 (1938) pp. 102–164 (In Russian) |

[3] | Yu.V. Linnik, "Ergodic properties of algebraic fields" , Springer (1968) (Translated from Russian) |

[4] | A.V. Malyshev, "On the representation of integers by positive quadratic forms" , Moscow-Leningrad (1962) (In Russian) |

[5] | A.V. Malyshev, "On formulas for the representation of numbers by positive quadratic forms (problems)" , Current problems in analytic number theory , Minsk (1974) pp. 119–137 (In Russian) |

[6] | J.-P. Serre, "A course in arithmetic" , Springer (1973) (Translated from French) |

[7] | C. Arf, "Untersuchungen über quadratischen Formen in Körpern der Characteristik 2, I" J. Reine Angew. Math. , 183 (1941) pp. 148–167 |

[8] | M. Eichler, "Quadratische Formen und orthogonale Gruppen" , Springer (1952) |

[9a] | H. Hasse, "Ueber die Darstellbarkeit von Zahlen durch quadratische Formen im Körper der rationalen Zahlen" J. Reine Angew. Math. , 152 (1923) pp. 129–148 |

[9b] | H. Hasse, "Ueber die Aequivalenz quadratischer Formen im Körper der rationalen Zahlen" J. Reine Angew. Math. , 152 (1923) pp. 205–224 |

[9c] | H. Hasse, "Symmetrische Matrizen im Körper der rationalen Zahlen" J. Reine Angew. Math. , 153 (1924) pp. 12–43 |

[9d] | H. Hasse, "Zur Theorie des quadratischen Hilbertschen Normenrestsymbols in algebraischen Körper" J. Reine Angew. Math. , 153 (1924) pp. 76–93 |

[9e] | H. Hasse, "Darstellbarkeit von Zahlen durch quadratische Formen in einem beliebigen algebraischen Zahlkörper" J. Reine Angew. Math. , 153 (1924) pp. 113–130 |

[9f] | H. Hasse, "Aequivalenz quadratischer Formen in einem beliebigen algebraischen Zahlkörper" J. Reine Angew. Math. , 153 (1924) pp. 158–162 |

[9g] | H. Hasse, "Zur Theorie des Hilbertschen Normenrestsymbols in algebraischen Zahlkörpern" J. Reine Angew. Math. , 153 (1924) pp. 184–191 |

[9h] | H. Hasse, "Das allgemeine Reziprocitätsgesetz und seine Ergänzungssätze in beliebigen Zahlkörpern für gewisse nicht-primäre Zahlen" J. Reine Angew. Math. , 153 (1924) pp. 192–207 |

[10] | E. Hecke, "Mathematische Werke" , Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht (1959) |

[11] | B.W. Jones, "The arithmetic theory of quadratic forms" , Math. Assoc. Amer. (1950) |

[12] | T.Y. Lam, "The algebraic theory of quadratic forms" , Benjamin (1973) |

[13] | H. Minkowski, "Gesammelte Abhandlungen" , 1–2 , Teubner (1911) |

[14] | O.T. O'Meara, "Introduction to quadratic forms" , Springer (1963) |

[15] | G. Pall, "Representation by quadratic forms" Canad. J. Math. , 1 (1949) pp. 344–364 |

[16] | A. Pfister, "Multiplikative quadratische Formen" Arch. Math. , 16 (1965) pp. 363–370 |

[17] | C.L. Siegel, "Lectures on quadratic forms" , Tata Inst. (1963) |

[18] | C.L. Siegel, "Gesammelte Abhandlungen" , 1–4 , Springer (1966–1979) |

[19] | H.J.S. Smith, "The collected mathematical papers" , 1–2 , Chelsea, reprint (1965–1979) |

[20] | G.L. Watson, "Integral quadratic forms" , Cambridge Univ. Press (1960) |

[21] | O.M. Fomenko, "Applications of the theory of modular forms to number theory" J. Soviet Math. , 14 : 4 (1980) pp. 1307–1362 Itogi Nauk. i Tekhn. Algebra Topol. Geom. , 15 (1977) pp. 5–91 |

[22] | H. Iwaniec, "Fourier coefficients of modular forms of half-integral weight" Invent. Math. , 87 (1987) pp. 385–401 |

[23] | W. Duke, Sém. Théorie des Nombres de Bordeaux , 37 (1987–1988) pp. 1–7 |

[24] | E. Freitag, R. Kiehl, "Etale cohomology and the Weil conjecture" , Springer (1988) (Translated from German) |

#### Comments

Recent accounts of the geometric theory of quadratic forms are contained in [a4]. There Dirichlet–Voronoi cells, parallelohedra, reduction theory, and relations to the problem of densest lattice packing and of thinnest lattice covering with Euclidean balls are discussed in detail.

#### References

[a1] | B.N. Delone, S.S. Ryshkov, "Extremal problems in the theory of positive quadratic forms" Proc. Steklov Inst. Math. , 112 (1971) pp. 211–231 Trudy Mat. Inst. Steklov. , 112 (1971) pp. 203–223 |

[a2] | P. Erdös, P.M. Gruber, J. Hammer, "Lattice points" , Longman (1989) |

[a3] | P.M. Gruber, C.G. Lekkerkerker, "Geometry of numbers" , North-Holland (1987) pp. Sect. (iv) (Updated reprint) |

[a4] | C.L. Siegel, "Lectures on the geometry of numbers" , Springer (1989) |

[a5] | S.S. Ryshkov, E.P. Baranovskii, "-types of -dimensional lattices and 5-dimensional primitive parallelohedra" , Amer. Math. Soc. (1978) (Translated from Russian) |

[a6] | J.W.S. Cassels, "Rational quadratic forms" , Acad. Press (1978) |

**How to Cite This Entry:**

Quadratic form.

*Encyclopedia of Mathematics.*URL: http://encyclopediaofmath.org/index.php?title=Quadratic_form&oldid=16312