Graduation Year


Document Type




Degree Granting Department

Mathematics and Statistics

Major Professor

Xiang-Dong Hou, Ph.D.


Artin-Schreier Theorem, Gauss sum, Law of quadratic reciprocity, Legendre symbol, Quadratic form


Let p be an odd prime, and define f(x) as follows: f(x) as the sum from 1 to k of a_i times x raised to the power of (p to the power of (alpha_i+1)) in F_(p to the power of n)[x] where 0 is less than or equal to alpha_1 < alpha_2 < ... < alpha_k where alpha_k is equal to alpha. We consider the exponential sum S(f, n) equal to the sum_(x as x runs over the finite field with (p to the n elements) of zeta_(p to the power of Tr_n (f(x))), where zeta_p equals e to the power of (2i times pi divided by p) and Tr_n is the trace from the finite field with p to the n elements to the finite field with p elements.We provide necessary background from number theory and review the basic facts about quadratic forms over a finite field with p elements through both the multivariable and single variable approach. Our main objective is to compute S(f, n) explicitly. The sum S(f, n) is determined by two quantities: the nullity and the type of the quadratic form Tr_n (f(x)).

We give an effective algorithm for the computation of the nullity. Tables of numerical values of the nullity are included. However, the type is more subtle and more difficult to determine. Most of our investigation concerns the type. We obtain "relative formulas" for S(f, mn) in terms of S(f, n) when the p-adic order of m is less than or equal to the minimum p-adic order of the alphas. The formulas are obtained in three separate cases, using different methods: (i) m is q to the s power, where q is a prime different from 2 and p; (ii) m is 2 to the s power; and (iii) m is p. In case (i), we use a congruence relation resulting from a suitable Galios action. For case (ii), in addition to the congruence in case (i), a special partition of the finite field with p to the 2n elements is needed. In case (iii), the congruence method does not work. However, the Artin-Schreier Theorem allows us to compute the trace of the extension from the finite field with p to the pn elements to the fi

nite field with p to the n elements rather explicitly.When the 2-adic order of each of the alphas is equal and it is less than the 2-adic order of n, we are able to determine S(f, n) explicitly. As a special case, we have explicit formulas for the sum of the monomial, S(ax to the power of (1+ (p to the power of alpha)).Most of the results of the thesis are new and generalize previous results by Carlitz, Baumert, McEliece, and Hou.