Canadian Mathematical Society
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Polynomials with $\{ 0, +1, -1\}$ coefficients and a root close to a given point

Open Access article
 Printed: Oct 1997
  • Peter Borwein
  • Christopher Pinner
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For a fixed algebraic number $\alpha$ we discuss how closely $\alpha$ can be approximated by a root of a $\{0,+1,-1\}$ polynomial of given degree. We show that the worst rate of approximation tends to occur for roots of unity, particularly those of small degree. For roots of unity these bounds depend on the order of vanishing, $k$, of the polynomial at $\alpha$. In particular we obtain the following. Let ${\cal B}_{N}$ denote the set of roots of all $\{0,+1,-1\}$ polynomials of degree at most $N$ and ${\cal B}_{N}(\alpha,k)$ the roots of those polynomials that have a root of order at most $k$ at $\alpha$. For a Pisot number $\alpha$ in $(1,2]$ we show that \[ \min_{\beta \in {\cal B}_{N}\setminus \{ \alpha \}} |\alpha -\beta| \asymp \frac{1}{\alpha^{N}}, \] and for a root of unity $\alpha$ that \[ \min_{\beta \in {\cal B}_{N}(\alpha,k)\setminus \{\alpha\}} |\alpha -\beta|\asymp \frac{1}{N^{(k+1) \left\lceil \frac{1}{2}\phi (d)\right\rceil +1}}. \] We study in detail the case of $\alpha=1$, where, by far, the best approximations are real. We give fairly precise bounds on the closest real root to 1. When $k=0$ or 1 we can describe the extremal polynomials explicitly.
Keywords: Mahler measure, zero one polynomials, Pisot numbers, root separation Mahler measure, zero one polynomials, Pisot numbers, root separation
MSC Classifications: 11J68, 30C10 show english descriptions Approximation to algebraic numbers
11J68 - Approximation to algebraic numbers
30C10 - Polynomials

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