I keep the subject constantly before me and wait till the fi rst dawning open little by little into full light.

Sir Isaac Newton

Polynomials are algebraic expressions consisting of the sum of one or more product terms. A function defi ned by a polynomial expression is referred to as a polynomial. In its simplest form, each of the product terms consists of a coeffi cient, and a variable of interest (x) raised to a nonnegative integer power. A polynomial {of one variable (x)} can in general be expressed as

f x a x a x a x a a xn n n n

where x is the variable, the a’s (an, an−1, an−2, …, a0) are the coeffi cients assuming that an ≠ 0, and the nonnegative integer n with the highest exponent defi nes the degree of the polynomial.