1. <mathematics> An arithmetic expression composed by summing multiples of powers of some variable.

P(x) = sum a_i x^i for i = 0 .. N

The multipliers, a_i, are known as "coefficients" and N, the highest power of x with a non-zero coefficient, is known as the "degree" of the polynomial. If N=0 then P(x) is constant, if N=1, P(x) is linear in x. N=2 gives a "quadratic" and N=3, a "cubic".

2. <complexity> polynomial-time.

(03 Feb 2009)

<mathematics> An expression composed of two or more terms, connected by the signs plus or minus; as, a^2 - 2ab + b^2.

Origin: Poly- + -nomial, as in monomial, binomial: cf. F. Polynome.

(01 Mar 1998)