characteristic polynomial

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characteristic polynomial (plural characteristic polynomials)

  1. (linear algebra) The polynomial produced from a given square matrix by first subtracting the appropriate identity matrix multiplied by an indeterminant and then calculating the determinant.
    The characteristic polynomial of is .

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Equally many authors instead subtract the matrix from the indeterminant times the identity matrix. The result differs only by a factor of -1, which turns out to be unimportant in the theory of characteristic polynomials.

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