Randomization, Sums of Squares, and Faster Real Root Counting for Tetranomials and Beyond
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Suppose f is a real univariate polynomial of degree D with exactly 4 monomial terms. We present an algorithm, with complexity polynomial in log D on average (relative to the stable log-uniform measure), for counting the number of real roots of f. The best previous algorithms had complexity super-linear in D. We also discuss connections to sums of squares and A-discriminants, including explicit obstructions to expressing positive definite sparse polynomials as sums of squares of few sparse polynomials. Our key tool is the introduction of efficiently computable chamber cones, bounding regions in coefficient space where the number of real roots of f can be computed easily. Much of our theory extends to n-variate (n+3)-nomials.