### Abstract

Let K_{q} denote the finite field with q elements and characteristic p. Let f(x) be a monic polynomial of degree d with coeficients in K_{q}. Let C(f) denote the number of distinct values of f(x) as x ranges over K_{q}. We easily see that C(f)≥ q-1 d+1 where [{norm of matrix}] is the greatest integer function. A polynomial for which equality in (*) occurs is called a minimum value set polynomial. There is a complete characterization of minimum value set polynomials over arbitrary finite fields with d < √q and C(f) ≥ 3 [see L. Carlitz, D. J. Lewis, W. H. Mills, and E. G. Strauss, Mathematika 8 (1961), 121-130; W. H. Mills, Pacific J. Math. 14 (1964), 225-241]. In this paper we give a complete list of polynomials of degree d^{4} < q which have a value set of size less than 2q d, twice the minimum possible. If d > 15 then f(x) is one of the following polynomial forms: 1. (a) f(x) = (x + a)^{d} + b, where d | (q - 1), 2. (b) f(x) = ((x + a)^{ d 2} + b)^{2} + c, where d | (q^{2} - 1), 3. (c) f(x) = ((x + a)^{2} + b)^{ d 2} + c, where d | (q^{2} - 1), or 4. (d) f(x) = D_{d,a}(x + b) + c, where D_{d,a}(x) is the Dickson polynomial of degree d, d | (q^{2} - 1) and a is a 2^{k}th power in K_{q}^{2} where d = 2^{k}r, r is odd. The result is obtained by noticing the connection between the size of the value set of a polynomial f(x) and the factorization of the associated substitution polynomial f^{*}(x, y) = f(x) - f(y) in the ring K_{q}[x, y]. Essentually, we show that C(f) < 2q d implies that f^{*}(x, y) has at least d 2 factors in K_{q}[x, y], and we determine all the polynomials with such characteristic.

Original language | English (US) |
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Pages (from-to) | 167-188 |

Number of pages | 22 |

Journal | Journal of Number Theory |

Volume | 28 |

Issue number | 2 |

DOIs | |

State | Published - Feb 1988 |

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### ASJC Scopus subject areas

- Algebra and Number Theory

### Cite this

*Journal of Number Theory*,

*28*(2), 167-188. https://doi.org/10.1016/0022-314X(88)90064-9