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This article is about the mathematical concept. For the 1996 film, see Multiplicity (film). For the computer program by Stardock, see Multiplicity (software).

In mathematics, the multiplicity of a member of a multiset is how many memberships in the multiset it has. For example, the term is used to refer to the value of the totient valence function, or the number of times a given polynomial equation has a root at a given point.

The common reason to consider notions of multiplicity is to count right, without specifying exceptions (for example, double roots counted twice). Hence the expression counted with (sometimes implicit) multiplicity.

Multiplicity of a prime factor

In the prime factorization

60 = 2 × 2 × 3 × 5

the multiplicity of the prime factor 2 is 2; the multiplicity of the prime factor 3 is 1; and the multiplicity of the prime factor 5 is 1.

Multiplicity of a root of a polynomial

A real or complex number a is called a root of multiplicity k of a polynomial p if there exists a polynomial s with:


p(x) = (xa)ks(x).

If k = 1, then a is a simple root.


The following polynomial p:

p(x) = x3 + 2x2 − 7x + 4

has 1 and −4 as roots, and can be written as:

p(x) = (x + 4)(x − 1)2

This means that x = 1 is a root of multiplicity 2, and x = −4 is a 'simple' root (multiplicity 1).

In complex analysis

Let be a root of a holomorphic function f, and let n be the least positive integer m such that, the m-th derivative of f evaluated in differs from zero:

Then the power series of about begins with the th term, and is said to have a root of multiplicity (or "order") . If , the root is called a simple root (Krantz 1999, p. 70).

See also

External link

"Multiplicity" on MathWorld

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