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# 2012 Annual MSP Convention Parallel Session

Sum of Involutions Over a Field of Characteristic 2 Diane Christine P. Pelejo University of the Philippines Diliman ABSTRACT
Let F be a eld with characteristic k. A matrix A Mn (F) is said to be an involution if A2 = I. It is known that an n-by-n matrix M over C can be written as a sum of two involutions if and only if M is similar to a matrix of the form 2Im + CD 2Ik + DC S S N for some nonsingular S; nilpotent N ; and matrices C Mm,k (C) and D Mk,m (C) such that CD, and consequently DC, is nilpotent. We look for conditions for a matrix over the eld Z2 to be a sum of two involutions over Z2 by looking at companion matrices of polynomials in Z2 [x].

EXTENDED ABSTRACT
Let F be a eld of characteristic two and denote the set of all n-by-n matrices with entries from F by Mn (F). A matrix A Mn (F) is said to be an involution (or an involutory matrix) if and only if A2 = I. The goal of this study is to determine necessary and sucient conditions for a matrix in Mn (F) to be a sum of two involutions. The following properties of involutions are useful.

1. Any matrix similar to an involution is also an involution. From this it follows that if a matrix is a sum of two involutions, then so is any matrix similar to it. It is then enough to look at canonical forms of matrices under matrix similarity to be able to characterize all sums of two involutions. In particular, any matrix in Mn (F) is similar to its Rational Canonical Form (RCF). 2. The direct sum of two involutions is again an involution. Hence if A and B (not necessarily of the same size) are sums of two involutions, then their direct sum A B is also a sum of two involutions. Take note that the RCF of a matrix is a direct sum of companion matrices of some irreducible polynomials in F[x]. Denition Given a monic polynomial p(x) = xn +
i

= 0n1 ai xi

F[x], the companion matrix of p is dened to be 0 0 0 a0 1 0 0 a1 0 1 0 a2 Mn (F) C(p) = . .. .. .. . . . . . . . . 0 0 1 an1 Note that in the case when charF = 2, a = a for any a F . 3. An involution in Mn (F), where F has characteristic two is similar to a 1 0 matrix of the form Ij for some nonnegative integers j and 1 1 k 2

k. Furthermore, the trace of an involution in Mn (F), that is, the sum of its diagonal entries, is always equal to n (mod 2). Hence a sum of two involutions in Mn (F) must have zero trace. From a previous study, it has been known that an n-by-n matrix M , with entries from the eld of zero characteristic C, can be written as a sum of two involutions in Mn (C) if and only if M is similar to a matrix of the form 2Im + CD 2Ik + DC S S N for some nonsingular S; nilpotent N ; and matrices C Mm,k (C) and D Mk,m (C) such that CD, and consequently DC, is nilpotent. It is therefore natural to ask if we can nd a similar result for the eld Z2 , a eld of characteristic two.